State of Idaho Archives: on Education

Brad Little: Make sure all students can read by end of third grade

With all the disruptions in education delivery over the past ten months, many of Idaho's students are experiencing a learning loss. We must close the achievement gap. To help, my "Building Idaho's Future" plan recommends investments in literacy--my highest priority in education.

We must ensure this school year is an anomaly--not a permanent system-wide flaw for Idaho's students in the next decade or more. We must make sure all young students are on track to read by the end of the third grade.

Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Idaho legislature Jan 11, 2021

Nancy Harris: Protect public education from privatization

Source: 2020 Idaho Senate website Feb 5, 2020

Brad Little: Doubled funding for literacy; don't rely on property tax

As state elected leaders, our constitutional obligation to K-12 public education is clear. Article 9 Section 1 states it is our duty "to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools." I want to thank the Legislature for joining me last year in passing significant investments in public education. We raised starting teacher pay. We increased funds available for Opportunity Scholarships. We doubled funding for one of my highest priority areas--literacy.

We cannot simply rely on the good hearts of teachers any longer to retain an effective teaching workforce in Idaho. We must pay them competitively. Your property taxes shoulder a growing share of teacher salaries and operating expenses in our school districts. It's out of balance and not sustainable. I propose we put an additional $30 million in ongoing General Fund as a down payment to continue increasing teacher pay over the next several years. Performance criteria will ensure accountability.

Source: 2020 Idaho State of the State address Jan 6, 2020

Brad Little: Direct state colleges & universities to work together

I have directed our universities, community colleges, and the State Board of Education to adopt a fresh approach to meeting the needs of Idaho students and businesses by working together. I am recommending the development of cybersecurity programs that will be offered jointly by Boise State University, Idaho State University, and University of Idaho. This increased level of collaboration will offer Idahoans a path to earn a degree in a high-demand profession by partnering with Idaho employers.
Source: 2020 Idaho State of the State address Jan 6, 2020

Nancy Harris: Education without massive debt

Q: What is your political philosophy?

A: In Idaho, we care about our neighbors and those who are in our communities. We want our kids to get a good education without being saddled with massive debt. We want our kids to have the opportunities to do meaningful work that pays well and does not pollute our environment.

Source: Candidate Connection: 2020 Idaho Senate race Sep 9, 2019

Brad Little: Invest in public school teacher salary increases

Education policy requires long-term planning and commitment. These past four years, Idaho has a successful record of responsible investment in education. We have increased the budget for our schools by 32%. This past year, Idaho teachers received one of the nation's largest year-to-year pay increases.

As Governor, I will continue our momentum and be an unrelenting advocate for educational excellence in our state. To amplify the voices of those on the front lines of education, I will create a Children's Cabinet to advise me throughout my term on a variety of education issues. My Children's Cabinet will consist of traditional education stakeholders, parents, and groups across our state dedicated to advocating for children.

Our Task Force on Public Education and its five-year plan has been the envy of other states. It has been the force behind an unprecedented, sustained effort to improve Idaho education.

My budget recommends the next phase of increased teacher salaries.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to Idaho legislature Jan 7, 2019

Paulette Jordan: Spending wiser will help create funds to invest in education

We can improve the source of funding to our public schools through smarter spending. By eliminating avoidable costs to our state such as expensive and unnecessary legal conflicts, costly contracts to house Idaho prisoners in other states, and tax loopholes for big corporations, we will have more money to direct to our state's students. My first priority is to invest in an opt-in statewide universal preschool program, where these additional education dollars will have the highest return.
Source: 2018 Idaho Governor campaign website May 15, 2018

Paulette Jordan: Invest in STEM technology in high school to drive economy

I want to grow Idaho's information technology sector by investing in STEM education at the high school level, so that our state has the workforce to create and drive a booming tech industry. I will also help foster public-private partnerships between our universities, technology companies, and the Idaho National Lab in order to expand job opportunities for Idaho's students in the information technology sector.
Source: 2018 Idaho Governor campaign website May 15, 2018

Butch Otter: Focus on student outcomes

To ensure we have effective teachers leading that effort in every Idaho classroom, my Executive Budget calls for providing nearly $42 million in 2019 for the 4th year of implementing our career-ladder system for educators. Shifting how we fund teacher salaries from years of service to student outcomes represents a significant ongoing investment in human capital--supporting teachers' professional development while establishing a long-term blueprint for teacher recruitment and retention.
Source: 2018 Idaho State of the State address Jan 8, 2018

Brad Little: Local and parental control of schools

I oppose the federalization of our education system. I support local and parental control of our public schools. Parents and teachers play an integral role in ensuring our children are getting the most out of the classroom.
Source: 2018 Idaho Gubernatorial website Sep 1, 2017

Gary Jones: Leadership & local control will improve schools

I believe Idaho's greatest resource is our children. Despite words, task forces and good intentions, our system is failing many of our students. Idaho ranks 39th in high school graduation rates and only 20 percent of our kids are college and career ready when they graduate. We must do better. Many of the answers to achieving excellence in education already exist. What we need is relentless leadership, local control and the ability to scale what is working.
Source: Magic Valley Times-News OpEd for 2018 Idaho Governor race Apr 8, 2017

Butch Otter: $58M to make public school teacher pay competitive

My first and most significant recommendation is for an ongoing allocation of $58 million to continue implementing the career ladder pay model for our public school teachers. Along with the $75 million that we invested in that effort during the past two years, this new and largest tranche will keep us on track to reaching our five-year funding goal for attracting and retaining more of the best and brightest educators available. I'm also calling for an ongoing investment of $2.5 million a year for leadership training of principals in low-performing schools.

As we work to improve the competitiveness of Idaho's teacher pay, it's critical that we have a solid basis for rewarding excellence. Looking beyond the recent challenges that we've experienced with teacher evaluations, this training will help ensure that school administrators can professionally, thoroughly and meaningfully assess teacher effectiveness and help guide their professional growth.

Source: 2017 State of the State address to Idaho Legislature Jan 9, 2017

Jerry Sturgill: Investments in education are investments in our future

My Mom was a high school teacher and I attended public schools. At college I studied economics and I have spent my whole career as a lawyer and businessman working to help businesses do better. I have volunteered at my kid's schools and been on a school board. I know that investments in education are investments in our future. They promote the health of our economy and our society.

High school graduation rates in Idaho have hovered below 80% for the last several years. Only 53% of high school graduates continue on to college. That is the lowest number in this country. For those lucky enough to go to college, 72% of them will leave college with an average of $26,091 in debt. More than 50% of those who attend college in Idaho leave Idaho within four years after their graduation.

Source: 2016 Idaho Senate campaign website Aug 31, 2016

Butch Otter: Need to increase access to college education

Along with insisting on transparency and robust local accountability, the foundation we're building will advance our goal of ensuring that 60 percent of Idaho citizens between the ages of 25 and 34 have a college degree or professional-technical certification by 2020.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Idaho legislature Jan 11, 2016

Butch Otter: Imperative that reading outcomes are improved

Let me impress upon you the urgent need to address the cornerstone of successful lifelong learning--reading proficiency. If we're serious about wanting long-term improvement in school outcomes, we must intensify our efforts to provide the kind of proven support that works for students who struggle to develop reading skills. My budget includes $10.7 million to pay for intervention support for students in kindergarten through third grade who are not yet proficient on the state reading indicator.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Idaho legislature Jan 11, 2016

Butch Otter: Career ladders will attract and retain school staff

Overall, I'm calling for a 7.9-percent increase in public school funding, including more than $38 million to continue putting the teacher career ladder in place. And I'm asking for almost $1.8 million to move such non-instructional school staff as counselors, nurses and speech pathologists onto the career ladder. I believe implementing the career ladder--based on specific student success measures--is essential to attracting and retaining the best teachers for Idaho schools.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Idaho legislature Jan 11, 2016

Butch Otter: $5M for professional development for teachers

Success in teacher retention also means continuing investment in their professional development. So I'm asking for an investment of $5 million for professional development aimed specifically at mentoring new teachers. I support Superintendent Ybarra's request to fully restore pre-recession levels of operating funds to school districts. Our Task Force recommended a five-year plan for that process. But the timeline can be cut to three years by approving my recommendation for nearly $30 million.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Idaho legislature Jan 11, 2016

Butch Otter: Move to `mastery-based' learning from `seat time'

The Task Force recommends moving Idaho to a voluntary "mastery-based" education system. That's one in which teachers are encouraged to provide individualized learning focused on mastery of subject-matter content and concepts rather than classroom "seat time." My fiscal 2017 budget includes $1.1 million to support up to 20 school districts in developing model programs for others to follow throughout Idaho.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Idaho legislature Jan 11, 2016

Nels Mitchell: More funding for schools, from property tax, not sales tax

As the Idaho Legislature struggles to set education funding, Mitchell says Idahoans would do well to remember the root cause of today's misery: "During his seven months as fill-in governor, Jim Risch started the 'race to the bottom' in our schools, and he owes an apology to the people of Idaho."

"In 2006, Risch sold the legislature on a wrong-headed plan to swap public schools' property tax funding for an increase in the sales tax," Mitchell said. "He promised us schools wouldn't lose money. The fact is, they lost big--$50 million in one fell swoop, and that was just the beginning."

Mitchell said Risch's scheme raised the sales tax by a penny, which impacted all Idaho families, while the concurrent property tax cut mostly benefited big corporations, and wealthy Idahoans. They got hefty breaks while Idaho families paid more in sales tax and often more in property tax as well because of override levies. "The future of our state lies in our public education system," Mitchell said.

Source: 2014 Senate Campaign web,, "P.R." Mar 5, 2014

Butch Otter: Replace "K-thru-12" with "K-thru-Career"

My education task force recognized the importance of the increased academic rigor we will see by successfully implementing the Idaho Core Standards. The task force recommendations are already inspiring promise to make the idea of "K-through-12" education obsolete. The standard for Idaho's commitment to education excellence and workforce readiness can perhaps better be characterized as "K-through-Career." It is a straightforward but profound way of describing our goals for building out and maintaining a continuum of education and training opportunities. It is a formula that emphasizes local autonomy and accountability as the keys to success not only for our schools but also for our communities, our economy, and most importantly for our students.
Source: 2014 Idaho State of the State speech Jan 6, 2014

Butch Otter: No major school improvement measures, just progress

My highest priority remains public schools. You will find that my budget recommendation includes increased funding for K-12 education. However, I do NOT seek to simply revisit issues related to school improvement that were raised in the recent election. Instead, I've asked the State Board of Education to assemble a broad cross-section of stakeholders to study the message voters sent us and identify elements of school improvement on which there is broad agreement. I'm convinced that acting too quickly or without due deliberation will generate needless distraction from our goals of improving efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability in our education system.

Let me say it again: I am neither calling for nor expecting major school improvement measures this year. But I believe there are areas in which we can make progress, and I encourage you and all citizens to engage in that public discussion. It's our very best chance to strengthen the foundation of our future.

Source: Idaho 2013 State of the State Address Jan 7, 2013

Michael Crapo: Preserve state and local decision-making authority

In Congress, I have consistently worked to enact laws that achieve increased support for public education and preserve decision-making authority for states, local communities and especially local school boards. It is important that we provide a strong foundation for education, as is referenced in the above quote. However, there is a proper role for federal support of education.

The federal government can provide resources, research, incentives and direct support for needed educational objectives. Programs like Headstart, IDEA, Impact Aid, EPSCoR, vocational-technical education and child nutrition programs are just a few of the important successes we have achieved in this arena.

Source: on 2011 Idaho Senate incumbents Jan 11, 2011

Rex Rammell: Department of Education is unconstitutional; eliminate it

Rammell, when asked if there are government programs that should be cut, said, “It would be easier to list the programs we should keep.” He claims the Department of Education is unconstitutional and should be eliminated.
Source: 2008 Idaho Senate Debate reported in Boise Weekly City Desk Oct 9, 2008

Jim Risch: Local decisions on education dollars, not federal

The responsibility of educating our youth lies first with parents and also with local school officials. Parents and local school boards know our children best and they should decide what should be taught and how our education dollars should be spent, not the federal government.

Nevertheless, there is a proper role for the federal government in education. The federal government can assist and partner with state and local school districts and provide support for needed educational objectives.

Source: on 2020 Idaho Senate race Apr 3, 2008

Jerry Brady: Support sustainable funding for public schools

    In order to prepare our children and to strengthen our state and our nation, we advance the following seven principles and support them with effective solutions:
  1. Every child deserves to learn and grow in an environment that provides safety and emotional support.
  2. Parents are their children’s best advocates and, as such, must be full partners in their educational decisions.
  3. Children learn best when their school environment is supportive of each child’s learning. The tools necessary for learning--whether labs, technology, or textbooks--must be available and up to date.
  4. Every child deserves a highly skilled and caring teacher.
  5. Return control to parents, [via] three regional parental advisory boards elected by local PTA and PTO members.
  6. Promotion of character development.
  7. Support sustainable funding for public schools.
Source: 2006 Gubernatorial campaign website, Nov 7, 2006

Jerry Brady: Parents in concert with schools develop kids’ moral compass

Parents, working in concert with their locally elected trustees, must be empowered to shape the schools their children attend. Compassionate parenting is needed for our children to develop the strength of character and moral compass they need to thrive & prosper in a world that has turned from personal responsibility and respect for others to one where greed & violence often predominate. [I support] promotion of character development. We want our children to not only be smart, but good citizens as well.
Source: 2006 Gubernatorial campaign website, Nov 7, 2006

Jerry Brady: Supports school prayer

Jerry Brady supports a moment of silence for prayer in schools.
Source: 2006 Gubernatorial campaign website, Nov 7, 2006

Jerry Brady: Evaluate and reward teachers

We’d like to focus on evaluating teachers based on student performance. This is a tough one for teachers to swallow. Remember: In the good/bad teacher report, the good teachers worked under the same conditions as the poor teachers. And clear measurements of success can be and have been written. No, spending money alone won’t work. But if good teachers make so much of a difference, it only makes sense to reward them disproportionately.
Source: Idaho Falls Post-Register “Reward Good Teaching” Feb 1, 2002

Dirk Kempthorne: Reading Initiative: 90% of 3rd graders reading by 2004

Only 50 percent of Idaho children are reading at grade level by the third grade. This makes the Reading Initiative critical to Idaho. We know we are making progress because we have defined a benchmark, we’ve taken a measurement, we have outstanding teachers involved, and there’s a synergy out there. We know the mission. We should lay out further goals. We should all agree that one year from now, 60% will be reading at grade level. And the following year, 70%. And by the end of 2004, 90%.
Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Idaho legislature Jan 8, 2001

Dirk Kempthorne: Exit standards for high school via SAT-like exam

In 2005, we must and will have standards in place for our students. I have had high school students ask me: “do you believe that there should be exiting standards?” And I tell the students: “absolutely”.

And I’m going to suggest to you that we no longer use the term “exiting standards” with regard to these students. These are achievement standards. A model that I’m suggesting to the State Board of Education is similar to the SAT format, where a student who does not succeed on the first test will have the opportunity to study further and then take it again.

In fact, you may have three bites at the apple. And there’s no penalty if you take the test again. In fact, maybe you’ve already passed it, but you’d still like to take it again and improve on your scores. But our students are going to know what’s necessary for graduation, and they will have to pass the test to receive their diploma.

Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Idaho legislature Jan 8, 2001

Dirk Kempthorne: Supports charter schools and innovative classrooms

Read the list of the innovative grants we’ve awarded-and look at what the teachers of Idaho can do. They said that with a few dollars, we can do innovative things. And they did it in a classroom where we gave them an additional $500.

I support and I believe in charter schools. In essence, what we have created with this program in schools throughout the state are charter classrooms for $500 each. It worked [because] we encouraged innovation without a guaranteed result and without penalizing failure.

Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Idaho legislature Jan 8, 2001

  • The above quotations are from State of Idaho Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Education.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2020 Presidential contenders on Education:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Please consider a donation to!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Oct 13, 2021