Idaho Education Association announced endorsements of pro-education candidate endorsements in five statewide races 48 legislative races across Idaho earlier this week.
The bi-partisan endorsements include nods for the governorship and superintendent of public instruction — both of which have huge implications on education policy — and are the result of dozens candidate interviews by IEA’s Political Action Committee for Education or PACE.
Nov. 8’s election comes after new historic investments in K-12 public classrooms — bold and important initial steps by policymakers away from decades of chronically underfunding Idaho public education. This includes last winter’s record-setting 11 percent increase in funding for public education and a historic $330 million investment in public schools during September’s special legislative session.
The newly-elected Legislature convenes on Jan. 9 and lawmakers will determine how the special session’s $330 million education funding earmark will be spent. Some lawmakers are openly vocal about syphoning the funding into voucher schemes that use public tax dollars to benefit private or parochial schools — a concept IEA members reject outright.
IEA President Layne McInelly and Idaho’s National Education Association Director Peggy Hoy, who serve as co-chairs of IEA PACE, praised IEA members for their role in making these new education investments happen in an email to IEA members on Thursday.
“Our work, however, is far from complete,” Hoy and McInelly said. “We must build on this momentum and ensure pro-education policymakers are in place to help us do it.”
They also encouraged IEA members to share the endorsements with friends and family and to support any funding measures for public schools on local ballots.
“While Idaho’s recent investments in education are notable, they are just a beginning of what is needed to overcome decades of chronic underfunding suffered by our public schools. Please support your local school districts in those efforts,” they wrote.
They also noted that November’s election is the first to be held using new legislative district map adopted by the state last year.