To the Vinton-Shellsburg School Community from Superintendent Kyle Koeppen:
The late Gordon MacKenzie, who was a card creator for Hallmark Cards, would tell a story of when he was at a school or in a group setting. He would always look around the spaces noticing the artwork on the walls. After pronouncing himself as an artist, he would wonder aloud who had created the masterpieces on the walls. He would ask “How many artists are in the room”? Mackenzie would then ask for those artists to please raise their hands.
The responses always followed in the same pattern. In kindergarten and younger grades, almost every kid in the room would thrust their hand into the air. As the people in the room aged fewer and fewer would raise their hands. People would look around to see if anybody in the room would admit to being an “artist”. As we become older, we are always labeling ourselves to what we are and what we are not. In our schools we are working to expand our experiences and opportunities for children to develop skills. Not just skills in one particular area, but in many areas. Allowing them to have a broad sense of the world around them and the possibilities before them. Educating the whole child.
No matter what path our students pursue, we need their experiences at our schools to enhance their ability to solve problems, understand others, and appreciate the world around them. These are essential skills in the 21st century.
Public schools provide a well-rounded education for kids. Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District is continuing to find ways to provide experiences and opportunities for students to expand their thinking, getting them outside of their comfort zone and showing them the possibilities and options which are offered.
This past week a bill was introduced in the Iowa legislature to divert public funding (tax dollars) from public schools and make it available to private institutions. Private institutions do not provide the same whole child education and equity of opportunity that public schools offer. Private schools may choose or discriminate on who they allow to attend. They are also not held to the same standards or accountability measures as public schools.
As we start to prepare our budget for next school year, some of our funding is in jeopardy to be allocated to private schools. I feel this is wrong and not in the best interests of our children and tax dollars. If you feel similarly, please reach out to your local representative and let them know public dollars should not be spent on private institutions.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me by phone, email or social media.
319-436-4728 ext. 5685