Idahoans don’t revolve around ‘Great State of Ada;’ education policy shouldn’t either

Lindsay Russell Dexter Articles

The lyrics to the Idaho state song, ‘Here we have Idaho,’ are not:

You’ve heard of the wonders our land does possess, Ada County
Its beautiful valleys and hills, Ada County
The majestic forests where nature abounds, Ada County
We love every nook and rill, Ada County . . .

In fact, and as the song indicates, there are is an entire world outside the so-called Great State of Ada. Case in point: there may be foothills but there are no majestic forests in Ada County.

This may surprise some, but take a deep breath and we will get through this together.

Idaho has 35 legislative districts, 35 senators, 70 representatives and 200 incorporated cities. Boise is one city and although it may be the most populated, it certainly does not represent the rest of Idaho’s varying population. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, Ada County does not represent every child and her unique learning needs.

Why then do we continue to allow state legislators, education bureaucrats and the Idaho Education Association so much influence on public policy? These individuals, groups and organizations tend to defend the status quo and throw up barriers to children who may not have access to the resources of their Ada County counterparts.

Policies like school vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, individual scholarships and educational savings accounts (ESAs) encourage and provide opportunities for parents and students who may not otherwise be able to tailor their education to their learning needs.

As the 2016 legislative session quickly approaches, those in power must look beyond the Great State of Ada and acknowledge all of this state’s children and act appropriately.

What works in Boise might might not work in Riggins, Rathdrum, Hope or Challis. As lawmakers gear up for the 2016 session, they need to remember they work for the moms, dads and kids across the state, not the well-funded lobbyists or the educrats dedicated to defending the same old thing.

Idaho can do so much better and our students deserve innovate, unique solutions to fit their learning styles.