To the editor:
The support of public education is the pride of Iowa, and a well-established Good for all citizens. For this reason, generations of Iowans have willingly turned over tax dollars toward public education, even if they had no children, or did not choose public education for their own kids. What a surprise, then, to read the Nevada Journal headline, “Iowa’s GOP legislators must despise public education” (4/19/2018). We can only surmise that the author, Dr. Steve Corbin, writes from the extreme, left side of the political spectrum. The clues are not so subtle.
First, liberals like Dr. Corbin cannot allow a difference to be framed as two honest, and yet opposing, ideas. Anyone who disagrees with his opinion must be painted as a hater—in this case you must despise public education. Demonizing honest Americans who have a good-faith disagreement is the very type of rhetoric that alienates neighbors, divides families, and ultimately helped President Trump win the White House.
Another clue that Dr. Corbin is a partisan ideologue is his creative use of the numbers. In his editorial he asserts that Iowa GOP campaign coffers are helped by a total of $107 million from a variety of organizations that agitate on education policy. “Follow the money!” he exclaims. Well, we followed the money to find that the grand total of donations to the Iowa GOP campaign coffers from every source in the last election cycle is more like seven million than one hundred and seven million. Apparently, Dr. Corbin conflated the budgets of some national organizations with the campaign coffers of our Iowa GOP. We also followed the money to learn that, according to an exclusive analysis by The Des Moines Register (3/16/2017), “Even a cursory review of the campaign finance data underscores [that] Iowa Democrats rely heavily on labor unions to fund their campaigns.” The article goes on to explain that Republicans do not rely on out-of-state unions at all, but they do rely heavily on the donations of individual Iowans. Conversely, the top individual donor to Iowa Democrats is from Chevy Chase, Maryland—a suburb of Washington DC.
Furthermore, Democrats are the champions of choice, particularly when it comes to important personal decisions. However, true to Dr. Corbin’s brand of liberalism, he asserts that Iowa parents should not have choices about where, and how, and by whom their children will be educated, especially when parents want parochial schools. Dr. Corbin quotes the Brookings Institution, saying that, “there’s absolutely NO best manner to educate children.” On this we can all agree. Our state representative, Dave Deyoe, votes to give parents options, when the best manner to educate their children falls outside the public-school arena, and when parents deem “the best manner” to be an education for their kids that includes their God. Dr. Corbin wants one choice for parents in Iowa: his choice.
This leads to Dr. Corbin’s contention that the almighty Separation of Church & State would render unconstitutional any public funds for parochial education in Iowa. Liberals employ this turn of phrase to scare away religious opposition as quickly as the terms Bigot, Homophobe, and Sexist do. But an educated society in the age of the internet is learning for itself that the US Constitution offers no such separation (just do a document search, you will not find that phrase, or even that sentiment). The Separation of Church & State has never been a formal concept in jurisprudence. Consider the fact that, since 1944, thousands of Iowan soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen have earned degrees at private religious colleges through the federal GI Bill. Our veterans might be surprised to know that Dr. Corbin believes their degrees were paid for unconstitutionally.
Finally, his byline reads, “Steve Corbin is Professor Emeritus of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa, and is a 1966 graduate of Nevada High.” We believe that something important is missing here. In his editorial Dr. Corbin connects “Smaller-Smarter Republicans” with a loathing for public education. Some may remember that in 2010 Walt Rogers, a supporter of more options in education, won the Iowa House seat against an incumbent in District 20. During that campaign, Rep. Rogers coined the Smaller/Smarter slogan and used it to great effect. The public might not know that the loser in that race, former Rep. Doris Kelley, is Dr. Corbin’s wife. Everyone appreciates that her defeat would surely sting for a while on a personal level. Nonetheless, this historic context is important to readers, as Dr. Corbin’s reference to the eight-year-old Smaller/Smarter slogan in his editorial last week may reveal a chip on his shoulder, which would cast his editorial in a different light.
The readers of the Nevada Journal are fortunate to have elected an honest broker in Rep. Dave Deyoe. Rep. Deyoe does not need to turn Dr. Corbin into an enemy and a hater to take on his liberal political opinions. Rep. Deyoe does not purposely conflate, as Dr. Corbin chose to, actual campaign donations with the budgets of national organizations to make his political opponents look bad. Finally, Rep. Deyoe votes for the legal right of Iowa’s parents to make education choices for their children, even when those parents do not choose the public education he has always supported.
Dr. Corbin contends that Republicans, like Rep. Dave Deyoe of District 49, have become radical. The clues about his own ideology, laid bare here, demonstrate that Dr. Corbin is real the radical.
Submitted for the executive board of the Republican Women of Central Iowa, a member club of the National Federation of Republican Women
By Katherine Asjes, Secretary