An Open Letter to Representative Paulsen

Representative Paulsen,

I am a teacher, which means you will almost certainly ignore my email, but I am also the parent of a high school student in Iowa.  The people of Iowa have always been proud of our education system.  The people of Iowa have also elected a Democratic Senate and a Republican House.  This implies that they are looking for compromise.  Legislative Democrats have presented you with a perfectly reasonable compromise on school funding.  Your lack of willingness to even consider a compromise is shameful.

If there is an army of people who are willing to come in to our schools and teach with fewer resources and do it better than those of us who have dedicated our lives to education (and are telling you that our 4% is necessary to simply maintain current programming) then bring them on.  Every school district in Iowa has told you that 4% will barely allow us to maintain the services that our students and parents have come to expect.  I am begging you to stop listening to business and tourism interests (who line your campaign pockets) and actually listen to middle class educators who have dedicated their lives to working with Iowa’s young people.  You are significantly responsible for the deterioration of education in Iowa.  I can confidently tell you (and back it up with hundreds of students who will gladly tell you) that I have made education in Iowa better.  I sleep well at night knowing what I have contributed to the young people of Iowa.

Members of your own caucus have told me that they want you to compromise at 2.5%.  It is time to do what is right.


Patrick J. Kearney
Parent and Teacher



  1. I agree, Pat and I’ve watched the downslide in national standing of Iowa’s ranking right from the first oath taken by the current governor. It appears that the house Republicans don’t have the ability to think independently and are like lemmings following Paulsen who is following Branstad.

  2. I have contacted legislators about school funding and they refuse to budge, listen, or take any responsibility for the tax cuts they passed that put Iowa in this position. It may be time for students, teachers, and administrators to have a sit down strike to get their attention. Of course it is not legal to strike in Iowa, but this legislature and governor are hardly in a position to lecture anyone about breaking the law, are they?

  3. I have always been so proud of Iowa’s schools. Having lived recently in AZ where school funding is horrible and is always the first cut, I know the direct impact it has on quality of life, not just for the students but all of the people who deal with poorly educated individuals. We know live in CA where the state assembly and governor are increasing school funding. Again, it shows – in all facets of life. It saddens me that Iowa’s politicians are too ignorant to realize that all of the good things IA has experienced, from low unemployment, stabile housing and companies wanting to locate there, are directly related to education.

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