OPINION: After a challenging year, Idaho education needs our support

Thursday April 22, 2021

By Governor Brad Little

The past 13 months have presented enormous challenges for students, parents, teachers, and school administrators. The sudden changes in work life, home life, and social life, along with new ways of learning and instructing, have firmly placed the COVID-19 pandemic as one of our most difficult life experiences.

We don’t want the pandemic to set us back in preparing students to succeed.

We want to emerge from the experience stronger and more committed than ever to public education in Idaho.

Idaho’s public education system is locally driven. If parents or teachers spot something that concerns them, they should bring it to the attention of the teacher, principal, superintendent, or school board trustees and root out the problem at the local level, which is the closest and most responsive to our students and parents. Curriculum in Idaho is always the responsibility of your local school board.

A skilled workforce demands investing in education at every level.

We should be demonstrating to parents that their children’s education is our priority.

We should be signaling to teachers that we value them, and we want to keep them in the profession.

We should be laser focused on equipping teachers, parents, and schools with the tools they need to help students overcome learning challenges.

We should be focusing our efforts on improving literacy, especially among the most challenged segments of our population so they have a strong bedrock for future learning.

We should be getting our kids college- and career-ready by pairing students with job prospects and teaching them nuts-and-bolts skills they can use in jobs every day.

We should be preparing our students to join our workforce and become lifelong learners.

Idaho is on an incredible trajectory. We have the strongest economy in the nation. There is absolutely no reason not to continue that momentum by returning to our real priorities – students, families, teachers, and businesses.

We should all be working collectively toward the same thing – to prepare today’s young people to be fulfilled and productive into the future.

There is a lot of work ahead coming out of this pandemic, addressing the challenges associated with learning loss across elementary and secondary education and preparing our students to be college- and career-ready.

It’s time to get back on track. That is what parents and employers expect and deserve.

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