Mike Gronstal, from Council Bluffs, has been the Senate Democratic Leader since 1997. First elected to office in 1982, Gronstal served one term in the Iowa House (1983-85), and is currently in his seventh term in the Senate. He is the State Democratic Leader in the Iowa Senate and has been a lifelong advocate for public education and smart politics.


We are fortunate to have Mike Gronstal represent us, our students, our schools and our profession. In the current political climate it is vital that you understand that we need YOU. Your time, your talent, and--eventually--your treasure will be needed to make sure that we reverse the trend of legislators who are willing to sell out our children for corporate tax cuts.

Quality preschools help students succeed and build a stronger Iowa

from the Gronstal Report 2/10/2011
I recently visited Lewis and Clark preschool in Council Bluffs to highlight efforts to prepare Iowa kids for a bright future. In 2007, the Legislature created the statewide preschool program, which now provides free preschool to 60 percent of Iowa four-year olds. On January 19th, House Republicans voted to completely eliminate the preschool program.

I wish the people who want to close these preschools would visit them and realize that our kids and grandkids are not just some line-item in a budget. The kids are learning skills that will prepare them for educational success throughout their lives. We can’t afford to NOT invest in their future.


Studies show that students who attend preschool go on to have lower dropout rates, fewer arrests, and are less likely to need welfare as adults. According to independent studies by the High Scope Foundation and the Chicago Child-Parent Center, every dollar spent on preschool saves $7 dollars in future costs for services like jails and drug rehab programs.

Iowa’s preschool program currently serves over 24,000 Iowa kids. Before Iowa’s statewide preschool program was started, only 19 percent of 3- and 4-year-old children in Iowa had access to a quality preschool education.

I’m all for streamlining government and saving taxpayer dollars, but not on the backs of our children and middle-class families. Preschool is a necessary investment in our kids’ future so that we can compete with China for 21st century jobs.

Iowa’s top business leaders recognize quality preschool as an important economic development issue. In 2009, the Institute for Tomorrow’s Workforce issued a report listing its top recommendation as “strong support” of Iowa’s Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program and calling for full funding of the program. The Iowa Business Council, a coalition of the top 20 business executives in Iowa, currently lists the “continued rollout of early childhood education systems” as a top priority.


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