The Idaho Education Association created a History Project Task Force made up of longtime IEA members and staff from across the state. The Task Force was created to capture, record, and publish the 120-year history of the Idaho Education Association. Special thanks also go to the many staff and volunteers of the Idaho Education Association who have contributed to the organization over the past 120 years, making it the advocacy group it is today.

Idaho Education Association Historical Timeline 2011-1892


Idaho educators and students are blindsided by the so-called Students Come First plan that Superintendent Tom Luna railroads through the Legislature. Its three bills gut collective bargaining rights, impose an unfunded pay for performance plan, and cut teaching jobs by mandating online classes and mobile computing devices for Idaho students … Together with parent and community allies, the IEA holds a successful petition drive to put all three laws to a citizen vote in November 2012.


Idaho continues to cut its public schools budgets … The federal Education Jobs Bill helps curb some of the losses with one-time money to the states … Superintendent Tom Luna is elected to a second term despite efforts to elect an education professional to the position.


For the first time in Idaho history, the state Legislature budgets less money for public schools than the previous year. With IEA’s support, the Legislature passes a bill that gives local school districts flexibility for dealing with financial emergencies, and 20 districts invoke the new law.


The Legislature defeats the Superintendent’s alternative pay plan and does not vote on the IEA’s plan….Educator-astronaut Barbara Morgan receives the NEA’s Friend of Education Award….Robin Nettinga becomes the IEA’s eighth executive director….IEA’s membership exceeds 12,000.


IEA member and former McCall teacher Barbara Morgan becomes the first educator astronaut to complete a space shuttle mission and conduct lessons with students from space….Both the IEA and State Superintendent of Public Instruction propose alternative compensation plans in the fall.


IEA members lead the effort to gather signatures to place the school funding initiative on the general election ballot. In just 79 days, more than 80,000 signatures are collected. Throughout the year, IEA members build support for the initiative, but a one-day special session of the Legislature in August complicates the campaign and the measure falls short on the November ballot.


The Legislature enacts the “Voluntary Contributions Act” which prohibits public sector unions (i.e., the IEA and the firefighters) from collecting political action contributions through payroll deductions; a federal court later rules the law unconsti-tutional in a lawsuit brought by the affected parties; the state appeals the ruling.. The 9 th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the lower court ruling; the state appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. …Other bills to take away certain retirement benefits, to repeal an over 80-year-old provision allowing IEA representatives to attend Delegate Assembly without penalty, to repeal collective bargaining, to gut mentoring and other support benefits for annual contract teachers, and to increase class sizes were all introduced but defeated.


Responding to the Legislature’s unwillingness to overturn a “holdback” of appropriated funds ordered by the governor, IEA members, in less than a month’s time, spearhead a petition drive that collects the signatures of more than 23,000 Idahoans who ask the Legislature to provide adequate funding for public education and then organize, almost spontaneously, four rallies across the state that attract more than 8,200 public education supporters.


Dan Sakota of Rexburg is elected to the first of two three-year terms as one of nine members of the NEA Executive Committee….In response to action taken by the 1996 Delegate Assembly, the IEA creates the Children’s Fund to help meet the needs of Idaho’s students. IEA members have raised and distributed approximately $700,000…. IEA implements the NEA’s KEYS (Keys to Excellence in Your Schools) program in several Idaho schools. The program continues and expands over the next few years.


IEA releases Visions of Change for Idaho Public Schools, a document two years in the making that represents the dreams of IEA’s 10,000 members for transforming Idaho’s public school system into the best in the nation.


IEA celebrates its centennial….James Shackelford becomes IEA’s seventh executive director….A coalition of business, labor and civic organizations—including the IEA—defeats the 1% property tax initiative that would drastically cut funding to public services.


The Legislature appropriates money specifically to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. IEA wins a lawsuit against the State Department of Education over the rules for implementing the legislation.


Sue Hovey, Moscow, is elected to one of nine positions on the NEA Executive Committee. She is reelected in 1989 and serves the maximum two terms of three years each.


More than 3,000 teachers, support personnel, parents and interested citizens march on the Capitol to draw attention to the needs of Idaho’s public schools and students….Charles Lentz takes over as the IEA’s sixth executive director….With NEA’s assistance, IEA hires a full-time organizer for educational support professionals.


The IEA and teachers are under constant attack by ultra-conservatives, especially during the legislative sessions. Attempts to weaken teachers’ rights and collective bargaining, as well as proposals to require such things as teaching creationism, are repeatedly introduced; all are defeated.


IEA releases A Vision of Excellence which offers the Association’s views on education reform….As a result of a new business item brought to Delegate Assembly by a Bonner County teacher, the State Board of Education tells school districts seeking accreditation for their elementary schools that they should have an attendance policy for their students.

Since 1980

Five IEA members receive NEA Human & Civil Rights Awards—Frances Paisano, Lapwai; Sonia Hunt, Nampa; Pete Espinoza, Minidoka County; Grace Owens, Pocatello; Sam Cikaitoga (posthumously), Fremont County.


In February 4,500 Idaho teachers march on the Capitol seeking improved funding for education. Later the Legislature approves more than a 13% increase in the public school appropriation.


IEA helps defeat anti-public education bills that would, among other things, eliminate compulsory school attendance….Don Rollie assumes the IEA executive secretary position; the title changes to executive director during his 10-year term.


After a five-year campaign, kindergartens are enacted, but districts still are not required to offer kindergartens….Contract negotiations are contentious in many districts. Nampa teachers stage the first teachers’ strike in Idaho for two days during the opening preparation days until the school board agrees to test contract language in court. Bonner County teachers follow suit for one day. In September Idaho Falls teachers close schools for seven days and in October Pocatello teachers go on strike for 11 school days. Teachers in Oneida County also walk out of their classrooms in October until a district court orders them to return. From the inception of collective bargaining to date, Idaho has experienced only 18 teachers’ strikes.


The Legislature enacts major improvements in the fair dismissal procedures and continuing contract laws as well as enhancing sick leave benefits.


More than 700 Boise teachers picket school board meetings to demand bargaining a contract; negotiations result in a procedural agreement.


Ron Finn of Twin Falls becomes the first IEA president released from his teaching duties to serve full-time as the Association’s president.


After years of lobbying, a collective bargaining law is enacted; retirement provisions are improved to allow teachers to retire at age 60 with 30 years of services; 90 days of sick leave are guaranteed for transfer from one Idaho district to another….A special Delegate Assembly during the legislative session adjourns unexpectedly because of a bomb threat….IEA continues instructional conferences throughout the state and adds a reading conference this year.


Northwest Nazarene College student Mike Poe is elected Student NEA vice president….Louise Jones, New Meadows, helps found the NEA Women’s Caucus and the NEA Women’s Leadership Training program.


IEA’s executive committee approves participation in the new NEA UniServ program for hiring staff to work at the local level; Boise teacher Jack White is employed as the first UniServ director in the country….PACE endorses Cecil Andrus for governor; Andrus wins, as do eight teachers who are elected to the Legislature.


The Legislature improves on its past performance, prompting the Delegate Assembly to lift sanctions….The IEA News becomes the IEA Reporter.


IEA begins a toll-free legislative hotline….Delegate Assembly votes, by a 2-1 margin, to impose full censure sanctions on Idaho, declaring it unethical for out-of-state teachers to take jobs in Idaho. Public reaction is mixed. NEA assists the IEA effort, both with funds and with staff.


Angered by the Legislature’s proposed public school appropriation for the next biennium, Pocatello and Butte County teachers close their schools and more than 100 of them come to Boise to lobby their legislators….Delegate Assembly authorizes a study of sanctions and in April the executive committee (now called the board of directors) imposes an advisory sanction on Idaho “warning teachers everywhere to weigh job proposals carefully before accepting assignments in Idaho” because “all is not well in the schools of Idaho.” Tensions between teachers and the public, particularly legislators and the media, are so great that IEA Executive Secretary Wayne York is hung in effigy on a Boise street corner….IEA sells its headquarters property to the state, buys property at the corner of Franklin and Sixth Streets, and begins construction on a new headquarters office.


The Legislature authorizes condemnation of eight blocks surrounding the Statehouse for a capitol mall. The area includes the IEA property….PACE endorses incumbent Gov. Robert Smylie, a Republican, and Cecil Andrus, a Democrat, in the primary election, mostly because both support retention of the sales tax. Both candidates lose their primaries. When the Democratic nominee dies in a plane crash and Andrus is selected to replace him on the ballot, PACE supports Andrus over Republican Don Samuelson in the general election. Samuelson wins….Voters sustain enactment of the sales tax to help fund education in a general election referendum by a 62% margin.


The Political Action Committee for Education (PACE) forms with the avowed purpose “to sponsor and promote candidates for political office in Idaho who support education”….The Legislature passes a 3 percent sales tax, revises the school funding formula, and enacts the first substantive Exceptional Child Education Act, eight years before similar federal legislation….Wayne York becomes IEA’s fourth executive secretary.


IEA’s Delegate Assembly approves a seven-point plan to provide more adequately for the needs of public schools. The plan includes creating a legislative committee to push for a sales tax to help fund education, developing a public relations campaign to explain the schools’ needs, commissioning a public opinion poll, seeking voluntary contributions of $5 from each member to fund the plan, and establishing a political action program to elect pro-public education legislators.


The IEA commissions the College of Education at Idaho State College to study the teacher turnover rate in Idaho. The study reports a turnover rate of 15.5 percent for the year and lists the number one reason for teachers leaving as salary insufficient to permit teachers to live as well as others with similar responsibility. Six of the top 10 reasons are financially related and the other four involve working conditions, including lack of teaching aids, materials, and equipment and large classes.


Of the 20-some education laws enacted in this year’s legislative session, eight were written in the IEA office. Between 1927 and 1945, IEA wrote 27 of the education bills enacted into law by the Legislature. Between 1947-48 IEA incorporates and unifies with the National Education Association.


IEA offers office space to the PTA; the practice continued for several decades until the IEA headquarters needed the space.


With the adoption of a new constitution, the Idaho State Teachers’ Association becomes the Idaho Education Association.


John Hillman becomes the Association’s first executive secretary (the title is now executive director).


The Idaho Teacher, the predecessor to the IEA Reporter, begins publishing. The Idaho State Teachers’ Association affiliates with the NEA….The Association recommends a comprehensive set of professional standards, based on a survey of Idaho teachers….The Association also finds that a teacher shortage exists in Idaho and that 39 of the state’s teachers are in their first year of experience.


The organization’s first legislative program brochure, based on 25 resolutions, is printed….Idaho teachers attend the National Education Association’s convention in Washington, D.C. for the first time.

March 23-25 1892

The first assembly of the State Teachers’ Association of Idaho meets in the representatives’ room of the state capitol and adopts a constitution which provides for a legislative committee to “use their influence securing needed legislation such as they or this association may deem necessary for the best interests of the state.”

March 3 1892

The IEA is born when State Superintendent of Public Instruction Judge J.E. Harroun gathers four other men in his office and they pass a motion “that a call be issued by the State Supt. to the teachers of the State to convene and organize a permanent association.”