Good morning. I’m Penni Cyr, President of the Idaho Education Association.
It is my pleasure to join Mike Lanza and Maria Greeley in thanking the 1000s of parents and teachers and education support professionals who freely gave hours of their time and energy over the past 20 months to help everyone in Idaho understand the devastating effects of the three laws that Idaho voters overturned last night.
Over the course of this campaign, there have been some who have questioned where the IEA was in the debate and why I wasn’t speaking out.
I am the elected leader of the teacher’s union, but, first and foremost, I’m a proud parent of four Idaho public school students and I have taught Idaho’s children for the past 28 years in the Moscow School District.
As a teacher and a parent, I wanted to make sure this debate focused on the real issue at hand—our kids and our public schools.
IEA has long championed excellence in public schools as our 120 year history has shown. This debate has never been about union control of our schools. The debate has been about what’s best for our students, educators and Idaho’s public schools.
Every one of our children deserves a committed, caring and qualified teacher. The professionals, our teachers who work with your students each and every day, deserve a full voice in how our schools are managed, through the local negotiations process.
IEA has always believed in the value of public education which is the foundation of democracy.
On behalf of the members of the Idaho Education Association who work in school buildings all across our state, we are heartened by the support of the hundreds of thousands of Idahoans who cast their votes yesterday and helped to overturn these laws.
And we are proud to work alongside so many dedicated parents and community members who believe strongly in Idaho’s public schools and Idaho’s educators.
Today is an important day for the 280,000 students enrolled in Idaho public schools.
Now that the voters have spoken, it’s up to us—the adults—to come together and model for our children, how grownups with very diverse opinions and ideas can put their differences aside to do what’s right.
Mike, Maria and I have already begun the task of reaching out to parents, policymakers, educators, and business leaders and asking them to join us in a process that will assure a better tomorrow for our children.
I urge lawmakers and other elected leaders and policymakers to meet us “at the table” to begin the conversation about what is best for the students of Idaho and our schools.
We believe that together, we can be a model of reform for the rest of the nation. I look forward to the task, because I know our kids, our teachers, and our schools are worth it.