Choice in Education

The Diocese of Sioux City in conjunction with our local schools hosted five school choice advocacy events in northwest Iowa over the past few weeks. A combination of evening parent sessions and luncheons resulted in over 400 individuals hearing about the latest developments around Education Savings Accounts (ESA).

Education is a powerful tool in this effort and raising the level of education is essential. In short, Education Savings Accounts can be the tool that empowers parents across our state and restores Iowa to its former predominate position in education.

Education Savings Accounts allow parents not enrolling their child in a public district to receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts for multiple uses (with restrictions). An Education Savings Grant (ESG) will be deposited to each pupil’s Education Savings Account (ESA) equal to 100 percent of the average per-pupil state aid or approximately $4,000. I believe it is time to make sure parents of K-12th grade students have a maximum number of options during this critical time in their child’s educational development.

To help this effort move forward, parents need to take three simple steps: First, make sure you vote. For information on voter registration visit Iowa Secretary of State Website,  and download/complete the voter registration form and return it to your county auditor’s office.

Second, speak with your candidates about parental choice and their stance.  To learn who the candidates are go to and enter your address information.

Third, contact or talk with your candidates. If you are unsure what to say to a candidate use the voter information page provided by the Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education at found on the Diocese of Sioux City website at This document provides questions to share with the candidates. Remember your legislator works for you! They are very accommodating to your questions.

Education Savings Accounts confront the current education paradigm in Iowa. Take these three easy steps and make the candidates aware of the importance we put on parental choice and improving education for all Iowa children. Working together we can make a difference.

     Dan Ryan, Ed.D., is superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Sioux City.


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