Whitver favors governor’s plan addressing parents’ concerns over library books

JOHNSTON — Two Senate Republicans have called for felony charges against educators who provide books with passages they deem obscene, but Majority Leader Jack Whitver — the top Republican in the Senate — is expressing support for the governor’s plan for addressing parents’ concerns.

“Charging anyone with felonies for these types of things, I don’t think is a good idea,” Whitver said this weekend during an appearance on “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS. “…There’s a lot of ideas on the table and so we’re going to look at those ideas like we do everything.”

Governor Reynolds has proposed requiring lists of school books be posted online and requiring school officials to respond within 30 days to parents’ complaints about any book. Parents would have a final appeal heard by the State Board of Education. Whitver said that kind of transparency is a good step, to let parents address any concerns they may have.

“And then it comes down to school board elections as well…Ultimately, if none of that works, you need to give parents a choice on where their kids are going to school,” Whitver said. “Whether that’s going from one public school to another public school, like we did last year, or a public school to a charter school or maybe now public to private schools — that’s I think the best path forward for Iowa.”

Last year, the Republican-led legislature voted to end diversity plans in five Iowa districts which allowed school administrators to deny student transfer requests. This year, Governor Reynolds has enlarged her plan to give parents state money to cover enrollment in a private school. Democrats say public tax dollars should be spent on public, not private schools.