As the holiday break approaches and 2018 concludes, we take a moment to look back and reflect. During the 2018 election cycle, the Idaho Education Association made strategic endorsements in both statewide and legislative races. The lengthy endorsement list included both Republicans and Democrats. IEA members across the state are working diligently to cultivate relationships with pro-public education candidates from both sides of the aisle. This willingness to blur party lines, look past differences and focus on a joint belief in supporting, enhancing and protecting public schools gives IEA members frequent opportunities to share stories about their classrooms and students. We know collaborating with both Republicans and Democrats will ensure Idaho’s students have access to quality schools.
In addition, the 2018 election cycle saw an increase in member engagement and activism. Members from across the state met with candidates, held house parties, collected signatures, participated in phone banks, and voted in record numbers. This is powerful. Educators are working with students daily and experiencing firsthand the current conditions in our classrooms. Many educators do not want to be political, but we simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and not engage in politics. The leaders elected in November will make decisions which determine classroom conditions for years to come. We commend and applaud all those educators who stood up, spoke up, and worked to ensure pro-public education candidates are supported and elected.
The work doesn’t end now that the election is over. Educators must continue to email, call, text, and meet with legislative leaders from across the state. We must hold them accountable for their election promises and ensure they follow through with their commitments. We must continue to educate them on the realities of the classroom. With the funding formula recommendations set to be voted on during the 2019 session, this constant contact is more vital than ever. See the full story on the funding formula here
Good news continues outside the political arena as well. IEA is in the middle of yet another year of membership growth. A large portion of this growth comes from IEA’s targeted local work. These local associations are planning strategically, organizing, and providing support and resources to members in purposeful and meaningful ways. Membership participation and engagement are key to ensuring strong locals with an active role in decisions made across the district.
Much of the membership growth can also be attributed to early career educators across the state joining in greater numbers than ever. IGNITE (Idaho’s Growing Network of Inspired and Thriving Educators) is approaching its first anniversary. This IEA program is leading the way in providing support, mentorship, and professional development for Idaho’s newest educators. Research shows Idaho’s attrition rate for educators is one of the highest in the nation. Providing support and resources for these early career educators will work to lower this rate and help encourage them to remain in the classroom. Find out more about how we support early career educators be visiting our ECE web page
2018 was a good year for IEA members. Election success, membership increases, and growth in programs which support the profession all point to student-centered, association-led work which is key to ensuring quality public schools exist for every student. Thank you to each and every member for your dedication to this work. As the sun sets on 2018 and dawn rises on 2019, IEA is poised to build on the positive results from our advocacy work on behalf of students, teachers, and public schools around Idaho.