Investments in public education benefit us all

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The education of young Idahoans affects all of us. A well-educated and well-trained population improves our overall prosperity as a state.

That is why I declared education my number one priority during my first State of the State and Budget Address earlier this month. A strong K-12 public education system is the foundation for making Idaho the place where all of us, our children and our grandchildren want to live, raise families, and retire.

This is Education Week at the Idaho Statehouse. Parents, students, teachers, and education leaders come to the Capitol to address policy and budget issues with a shared goal of making our public education system in Idaho stronger and more accountable.

The best education of our youngest Idahoans starts with families and later depends on teachers. Teachers enter their profession with hearts for making a difference. They become teachers because they love learning and helping others learn.

But a good heart isnít enough to keep some of our best teachers teaching. According to a State Board of Education Teacher Pipeline Report from 2017, about 15 percent of Idahoís teachers leave the workforce after just one year on the job. More than 30 percent of teachers who become certified in Idaho do not teach in an Idaho school. Teacher shortages continue in communities across the state.

We must recruit and retain new educators, particularly in rural, underserved, and border communities. To do that, starting teachers need to be compensated fairly and competitively. I am working to raise starting teacher pay to $40,000 a year.

Just like any other job, teachers need the right tools to deliver results.For the full story, pick up a copy of the Mountain Home News or click on this link to subscribe to the newspaper's online edition.