Public education is the backbone of democracy

Thank you to Superintendent Maeder for reminding those of us who value our local public schools that we need to speak out about the Governor’s plan to begin using public money to pay for tuition to private schools.

Public education is the backbone of democracy in my opinion. Like Mr. Maeder, I wonder what our Republican leadership hopes to accomplish by encouraging private school attendance. I wonder if the goal is to make Iowa less diverse than we already are? Or could it be making sure our future “leaders” don’t have to attend school with special needs students? After some research, I am still not clear on what if any certification is required to teach in private schools. Also, not clear what oversight, if any is done on private school outcomes. I do know there are plenty of requirements put on public schools and their employees.

When we moved back to Iowa in 1990 Iowa schools were ranked in the top 5 in the country and Colorado was near the bottom. Now Iowa is ranked around 20th and Colorado is 21st depending on what study to you look at. Could Iowa schools be improved? Certainly, but our state leadership over the last few years has not made public schools a priority, with annual funding less than inflation. Private schools have been and will continue to be available. It makes more sense to improve the public schools that most of our students will be attending. If you agree, write to your state representative and state senator.

Sheila Westegard


Madrigal Dinner was Uplifting

Have you ever attended a Christmas time Madrigal Dinner? Out daughter Carrie graduated from Simpson College in Indianola. Simpson College presents a Madrigal Dinner only every second year and they are home to the Des Moines Opera! (That alone should give you the idea of work and the complexity of pulling off one of these grand events!) Helen and I attended our first Madrigal Dinner at Simpson when Carrie was in school there.

Last night we attended our second Madrigal Dinner in Bloomfield. Bravo! I am amazed and I must admit a little proud of my adopted home. Last night’s event was incredible not just for a community our size but incredible by any standard. Lyle Stirling and the Spectrum Center for The Arts put on an incredible performance. Somehow, they commandeered nearly every local talent and even brought back talented former residents to support this grand performance. B.J. Grant catered the meal for over 175 people, the creative ones put together incredible costuming that even included a unicorn, and our community supported the event with sell out attendance and a standing ovation!

I could go on and on, but time is short to make this week’s Bloomfield Democrat. All I wanted each of you to know is what an incredible event this was for a community loaded with talent and potential that has a bright future of we are just willing to move a little bit farther out on the limb.

Thank you, Lyle, and the Spectrum Center for The Arts and the complete cast for an uplifting evening!

Bloomfield is a special place.

John D. Schroeder