Each of the three Republican candidates for governor is promising to ease state regulations for parents who teach their children at home.
Dozens of parents and children gathered in Des Moines for “Home School Day at the Capitol” and a crowd of about 200 gathered in an auditorium to hear short speeches from the three candidates. Candidate Bob Vander Plaats warned the crowd that the Iowa Supreme Court decision which legalized gay marriage could be a harbinger of bad news for home schoolers.
“How you educate your children is in jeopardy,” Vander Plaats said. “Now, a lot of people will say, ‘Bob, now, you’re just causing fear.’ No, no. It’s actually — it’s right there. If they say, ‘Why can Bob send his children to private school? Why should Steve and Amy send their children to home school? That violates an equal protection provision. All kids should have to go to the public school.'”
Vander Plaats promised he would act, as governor, to keep the court in check. Vander Plaats, a business consultant from Sioux City, reminded the homeschoolers he has promised to appoint someone who is part of the home-schooling movement to the State Board of Education.
“To symbolically, if nothing else, make sure this is about parental rights, not about government control,” Vander Plaats said, to applause from the crowd.
Former Governor Terry Branstad reminded the crowd it used to be illegal to “home school” your children in Iowa and he was the governor who signed the law which changed that.
“And I’m proud to have worked with you to legalize home schooling and even more proud of what you have accomplished since that law passed and the achievements of home school students today — 30,000 home school students demonstrate a tremendous success,” Branstad said. “You should be very proud of that.”
Branstad also touted the candidacy of Brenna Findley, a 33-year-old Republican candidate for attorney general who was taught at home. “And I’m looking forward to being governor and her being the attorney because in all the years that I was governor, I never had a Republican attorney general — and do you know what it’s like to have your own lawyer working against you?,” Branstad asked, as some in the crowd laughed. “It’s not fun. It’s not an easy thing, but I am excited about Brenna Findley ’cause she’s our kind.”
Brantad, who is seeking a fifth term as governor, told the crowd he was the first governor to send his children to a private school. Rod Roberts, a state representative from Carroll, was the first of the three candidates to speak.
“Friends, I have a track record of being supportive of people who decide and chose to home school their children because you have a right to do that and I respect you for that,” Roberts said.
Branstad filed his nomination papers today, placing his name on the ballot for the June primary. Vander Plaats filed his papers on March 1st, the first day nomination petitions could be submitted. Roberts told the home schoolers he would submit his nominating petitions later this week, before Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
Listen to the three candidates’ speeches by clicking on the links below: