This fall we asked members across the state to seize the opportunity to tell their story, sharing first-hand experiences about what our students need to reach their full academic, social, and emotional potential. Hundreds of you heeded our call. Thank you for elevating your voice. Together our voices clarified, amplified, and elevated the needs of our students across the state. As a result of elevated educator voice, legislators across the state heard from educators through email, phone, and face-to-face meetings. Educators shared their experiences on the “Schools Our Students Deserve” cards. We heard loud and clear what brings the most gratification for educators and what is taking the joy out of the career we all love so much.
In November we sent out an all-member email poll asking you to rank your top priorities related to education policy. To the surprise of nobody, just as we know the top priority for educators across this state is increased pay for veteran educators. We know the single most important factor in determining student achievement is a highly qualified, well-trained, experienced educator. Idaho has invested in early career educator salaries, but now is the time to ensure educators who are recruited to our state, remain in our state to help our
Having qualified educators is a critical starting point, but there are many more pieces to the puzzle in our quest to ensure Idaho students have opportunities to reach their college, career, and life goals.
Our class sizes across the state must be small enough to ensure that our dedicated educators can reach every student. It’s no wonder class size ranked second. Every day, Idaho educators overcome significant challenges in their classrooms– not enough resources, lack of time, intensified student needs, increased academic demands, and a maze of bureaucracy. These challenges are easier to conquer when class sizes are manageable.
We know classroom teachers don’t do this work alone. Our Education Support Professionals (ESPs), such as paraprofessionals, tutors, custodians, bus drivers, food service workers, and secretaries, all are part of an intricate team of professionals working tirelessly each day for our students. Many of our ESPs work for minimum wage, leaving school only to travel to a second or third job. ESP pay came in third on our priority list. We know we must pay a living wage to the entire team in schools. We cannot do this work alone. Our students depend on all of us.
Full-day kindergarten and increased investment in Pupil Service Personnel (counselors, nurses, librarians, social workers, school psychologists) round out our top five. The results of our educator poll paint a clear picture of what Idaho’s schools need in order to be the schools our students deserve.
The Governor’s Task Force recommendations are a start to making our priorities a reality. These recommendations will not become a reality on their own. Now more than ever our collective voice must be louder than the opposition. The stronger our collective voice becomes the harder those who seek to destroy public education work.
During this legislative session, we need your voice. Join us as we fight for the public schools our students deserve. Together we will win a living wage for all educators, lower class size in every classroom in every school, increased opportunities for our youngest students, and the staff necessary to educate the whole child. Together, we silence the opposition. Together, we will ensure that schools our students deserve are a reality—not a pipedream or a faint hope—for all of Idaho’s children. Together we can ensure that every student attends the school they deserve.
Idaho Education Association
Please join us in congratulating Layne McInelly on being named President of the Idaho Education Association.
A sixth-grade teacher at Boise‘s Morley Nelson Elementary School, Layne has served as IEA Vice President for the past five years and has also been the Chair of the IEA Budget Committee, Resolutions Chair, and a member of the IEA Executive Committee and the IEA Government Relations Committee. Layne succeeds Kari Overall, who resigned recently for personal reasons. He will serve out the remainder of the current term, which expires at the end of July 2020. Elections for the term beginning August 1, 2020, will take place this spring. Read Bio here.