For Immediate Release
January 6, 2014
Statement from IEA President Penni Cyr: Reaction to State of the State Address
Boise, ID—The Idaho Education Association is pleased with the recommitment to public education that Governor Otter emphasized in his State of the State address today, and readily supports the majority of the goals and initiatives that he has outlined. However, the governor has neglected to address the most important factor in student success—professional educators. While highlighting many positive ideas, his proposed budget does not include salary improvements for Idaho teachers.
We commend Governor Otter for convening the bipartisan Task Force on Excellence in Education and for his support of the Task Force recommendations. Increased rigor through the Idaho Core Standards, improved technology in the classroom, local district autonomy and a restoration of operational funding are all crucial components in improving the quality of education in Idaho.
However, Idaho educators are going to be disappointed that Governor Otter has decided to kick the salary can down the road. Countless times over the past few years educators have been promised that when the economy recovered so, too, would their pocketbooks. The governor has missed the mark in not providing tangible recognition for teachers. Like operational funding, teacher salaries were cut or deferred during the economic downturn.
Too many of Idaho’s brightest and best educators have been forced to leave the state or the profession at a time when our state needs to focus on attracting and retaining quality teachers. We have put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage compared to neighboring states, and only through improving education can we ensure a qualified workforce that will drive Idaho’s economic recovery. Facilities and technology are important tools for education, but they are of minimal value without qualified people to use them.
The IEA applauds the growing realization that public education is the key to Idaho’s future prosperity, but education doesn’t happen without quality teachers, and that critical piece of the equation has been overlooked in Governor Otter’s proposed budget.
Penni Cyr, President, Idaho Education Association
Idaho Education Association