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Let’s lift up Idahoans by getting government out of the way

Let’s lift up Idahoans by getting government out of the way

Wayne Hoffman
December 17, 2021
Wayne Hoffman
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December 17, 2021

Ronald Reagan famously used to say, “Government is not the solution to the problem. Government is the problem.” 

Contrary to what Marty Trillhaase told readers of the Lewiston Tribune on Dec. 8, this was the point of my speech to the Kootenai County Republican Women. It was not, as Trillhaase reported, a State of the State address. The point of the speech was to start a conversation about the things wrong in our state and country and what can really be done to fix it.

It is a fact that there are schools in Idaho where 90% of the students can’t read, write, or do math, as measured by the results of the college entrance exam taken by nearly all Idaho government school upperclassmen. More commonly, half of all students across the state and throughout the country can’t pass basic tests that are used to measure achievement year after year. 

Trillhaase says neither the State Board of Education nor the State Department of Education would own up to this painful truth when he inquired about it, which is par for the course with the state’s education oversight agencies. They continuously pepper parents with propaganda about how well schools are doing despite evidence to the contrary. It’s no different than the Biden administration pretending there’s no inflation. Government lies are normal, and the folks in the media refuse to provide accountability, either in education or economic matters. 

This ongoing failure of the public school system is why the Idaho Freedom Foundation, parent groups, and legislators hope to see a universal school choice plan pass the Legislature in 2022. Despite what Trillhaase says, there’s plenty of evidence that school choice benefits people in rural areas as well as those that are more urban. As to his complaint that school choice would be a detriment to “families struggling to make ends meet” or for children with learning and physical disabilities, we believe it’s wrong to trap the most vulnerable students in underperforming schools and tell them a failing system is the best we have to offer. 

It’s not. All students deserve more than mediocrity. 

Trillhaase also takes exception to my statement that Medicaid, food stamps, and other government programs should be replaced with help from families, churches, and charities. He says that charities “lack the resources to compete with government programs.” Remember that government has spent the last 90 years siphoning resources from those groups, so of course they are strapped for cash. 

Our proposal is to return money to the people and organizations from which the government is wrongly depriving resources. We all know that the private sector does a far better job lifting people out of poverty than government. Idaho should lead the way in getting individuals invested once again in the wellbeing of people, instead of leaving people to languish in the moral equivalent of government soup lines. 

Finally, Trillhaase is upset that we’d like to see lawmakers follow through on their attempt to clear social justice from the agenda of the state’s higher education system. The fact is that lawmakers cut $2.5 million from the state’s colleges and universities and directed them to eliminate some of these programs. The state’s higher education system in response chose to sit back and do nothing, these programs in place, while raking in millions of dollars in federal aid. The Legislature’s actions didn’t even make the schools wince. 

It’s far past time that the state’s colleges and universities remember that Idaho’s elected representatives and senators are the ones who make decisions about how our public higher education system is to function, not the editorial boards of the state’s papers, nor the woke unelected university presidents running our campuses. The social justice agenda is a cancer on our culture, and it’s time for state officials to hold the schools we all pay for accountable by cutting out this malignancy.

If Trillhaase heard a “State of the State address” in my comments to the Republicans in Kootenai County, maybe it’s because it’s been a long time since he’s heard anything terribly visionary from Idaho’s elected officials. Those officials are usually content to settle back and receive federal grants and enact the agenda of special interest groups like the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the Idaho Education Association, and Idaho Business for Education. My message is simply that it’s time to do the hard things necessary to save the state and the country by rejecting dependency on government programs and bureaucrats, because that’s the real issue holding Americans back.

View Comments
  • Bee says:

    Watched an Ammon Bundy Townhall this week. He is a strong believer in turning back the clock on all the government overreach. Check him out:

  • Bobby W says:

    Good quote from Reagan. Though quotes are only that-action is more important. And Reagan cut taxes as promised but didnt cut govt spending as promised. So national debt actually increased during Reagan years.

  • Bobby W says:

    By "visionary" you mean telling north idahoans to cross the border to WA for social services?
    We ran out of Pepto bismo in the house so i havent watched the video of your visionary speech, but i heard thats what you proposed. Brilliant plan.
    In fact, sounds EXACTLY like what people are doing to us in our southern border, you hypocrite

  • Jim Rodgers says:

    Spot on, Wayne.

    Keep the faith, brothers and sisters. Stand strong, be counted for liberty.

  • KJ says:

    The state, the teachers, they don't care about your children. They care about money and power.

    This is a problem that won't get solved until money becomes extremely limited such as a time of financial collapse. Those who want to educate their own children will see successful children blossom. Those families who have to have 2 parents working to make ends meet (due to high taxes due to excess spending by gov. officials) need to make a decision based on their priorities. Material wealth or children.

    • Al says:

      KJ, do you REALLY think teachers only "care about money and power"? Or is that just hyperbole?
      Idaho's teachers are notoriously underpaid. They have invested at least 4 years of their lives and substantial expenses in obtaining a college decree to educate our children and yet have the lowest rate of pay in the United States.
      I've taught in high school. I have known MANY teachers and administrators over the years, in public, private and the sort-of hybrid charter schools. What on earth makes you think they're in it for money and power? They exemplify the exact OPPOSITE of that statement. Many have been leaving the state for greener pastures. Idaho's legislature keeps having to address this problem, constantly contemplating lowering accreditation requirements to find people to fill the spots needed because we pay so low.
      I've known teachers leave for other industries, frustrated with low pay, low respect, snotty children whose parents blame the teachers for the childrens' behavior, etc. Yet the ones who remain are in it for the health, safety, education and prosperity of OUR children.
      I'm not just trying to defend teachers here, I'm calling out hyperbole when I see and and ask what examples lead you to that statement?

      • KJ says:

        General statement of the places I lived in the past. I never say all teachers are in it for the money. There are those who really do care.

        Where I came from administrators had pools in their backyards, Mercedes in the driveway, etc. They were the most condescending and arrogant individuals I ever met.

        The problem is more with the administrators out here in Idaho.

        • Al says:

          So your comment about teachers is retracted? You said "the state, the teachers..." but what you really mean is SOME administrators?
          Where did you come from to see teachers with Mercedes and swimming pools?

          • KJ says:

            No retraction based on the fact human behavior always repeats. Its a given.

            I have seen the crap they pull taking the minds of children over with their marxist philosophy. They consider your children theirs. I battled this for years.

          • Bobby W says:

            Typical unsupportable B.S., KJ. Give us an example like Al asked.
            You claim that teachers only care about money. Give us an example.
            Then you claim they're marxists - which is really kind of the opposite of capitalism, isn't it? Which is it, are teachers only concerned about money or do they want to share wealth and property equally among everyone like a marxist.

            What's your problem?

      • Abc says:

        My answer would be because every year teachers say they are underpaid.
        That’s a choice to go to college and you should have to pay your debt if it’s to high bring that up with the College.
        Just so everyone knows teachers who put their own money into classrooms get (tax deductions) if it has any relation to what they are teaching. I’m not going to argue with the IRS.
        Teachers all and your pay rate student attendance depends on your teaching abilities want to get paid it’s simple go back to College get in more debt and after your raise increase which it does they complain again.
        It’s bad policy to make the public pay higher taxes for teachers financially irresponsible.
        Greed, Stupidity, and Fear are the three most powerful forces Albert Einstein has a quote about that turns out to be true. Einstein only went to public for three years.
        And if you don’t like being a teacher find a job quit complaining. If you want to find the problem it’s teacher that are so called underpaid.

        • Bobby W says:

          Tax deductions don't equal tax credits, abc.

          Example: a teacher spends $300 on materials for her classroom and she's in the 10% tax bracket. That means, if she deducts the $300 from taxable income, she reduced the amount of taxes she paid by $30. She spent $300, so the net is an expenditure of $270 on her classroom. She doesn't get that back from the IRS.

          If she received a CREDIT rather than a deduction, then you'd be correct, it would come out as a wash.

          So-the problem with teachers is that they're greedy, stupid and afraid? Otherwise, Idaho would have a sterling education system?

          Gotcha. Maybe we need to spend more money to recruit better teachers!!!!! LOL!!!!!! You've proven the point!

  • john says:

    you live in a free society but you do not want to pay taxes
    you want better schools but you pay teachers the same as someone who flips
    this year teachers will start at about $40,000 after 4 years of college and tons of
    and remember teachers put some of their own money into their class
    for their students
    you want good teachers good schools it all cost money
    and i am against charter schools
    public schools are the way to go
    i work for a company doing plumbing and a/c and make more than the top scale
    of the teachers and i never went to college
    mr wayne writes very well but of course he is one sided
    he wants the government to do more and more and pay less and fewer taxes
    the people we have in government now are the people you voted for
    i am for paying more taxes to help improve the state of idaho
    not to rerun the last election

    • Al says:

      Well put, John. I think a lot of what you say is shared by the majority of Idahoans. I'm flabbergasted that people accuse teachers of trying to indoctrinate kids, of only caring about money, etc. People who make those claims don't back it up with examples and just make grandiose statements from no experience or evidence, I believe.

      Speaking of grandiose statements, Wayne says 90% of Idaho's students don't know how to read, write or do math. ????? The college entrance exams DON"T SAY THAT. If a child couldn't read, the child could not even participate in a college entrance exam, right? The logical conclusion is that only 10% of Idaho's students have been eligible to even participate in the exams.

      But wait...in another article, Wayne says we have an abundance of children going to college - too many, he claims.

      So, how can we have TOO MANY college students if they can't even read, write or do math on the college entrance exams?

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