Disconnect between Idaho Legislature and public over education funding

The people of Idaho continually stand by public schools and want their children educated within the public school system. So why aren’t the majority of our legislators able to see and act on this reality?

The public school system has shown time and time again its capacity to rise to the occasion and provide for children and families in whatever way necessary. Idaho public schools are a place where all families and their children are welcome and have the opportunity to learn valuable information that improves their lives and improves our state. Quality education for all is the backbone of a strong economy and a highly functioning society.

Natalie MacLachlan

Natalie MacLachlan

Education is funded by our property taxes. Yet, year after year, families show up to vote on levies and bonds to fix our crumbling schools and fund the day-to-day basics of educating our children. This legislative session has been full of attacks on education and tax plans that offer no relief to everyday Idahoans who are simply trying to live in Idaho, pay their taxes and have their children educated.

As an educator in a West Ada middle school, I see the daily truth that many families are dependent on the services that our schools provide. The public school system is responsible for providing an education to children and provides additional services that allow that education to be more meaningful. Students receive food security, health care, mental healthcare, transportation, technology, and more under the umbrella of a public education.

It is time to show some respect to our hard-working parents and students by funding education so that our schools can begin their climb from the lowest in the nation. It is time to make our property taxes sustainable for local families by supporting education with existing revenue. It is time to respect the teachers who continue to do the hard work of educating our youth and supporting families. It is time to remember that our parents and grandparents were taught to respect their teachers and be grateful for their education. It is time to leave a legacy for the next generation and to pass on an even better education and Idaho than we had.

As a public-school teacher who engages with parents and children from every walk of life, I know that we all believe in a few of the same basic guiding principles. We all believe in paying those who work hard, giving children the best opportunity available to succeed and making living in Idaho sustainable. I became a teacher because I know that education empowers individuals and families and improves communities. We must invest in public schools and value our public-school teachers. Education is the foundation of a successful society. We must reset our focus on giving the best possible education to our children and remember that they are the future of Idaho.

So, I’ll ask again, why don’t the majority of our legislators see this reality and act? Why don’t they want Idaho children to be highly educated by qualified and caring teachers? Why don’t they stand with our public schools, hard-working families, students and educators?

Natalie MacLachlan is an Idaho native and a middle school teacher in the West Ada School District with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

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