EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second installment in our series of profiles of the candidates running for superintendent of public instruction. The series continues Wednesday with a closer look at Democratic candidate Cindy Wilson.
Retired hospital surveyor Allen Humble became so concerned about Idaho’s education system that he decided to do something about it.
Although he has no experience in education or politics, Humble is running for superintendent of public instruction.
He faces Capital High School teacher Cindy Wilson in the May 15 Democratic primary.
“I’ve been following with increasing frustration the things that I now have platform planks about,” Humble said.
His concerns include the public school funding system, and school facilities.
“It hasn’t worked out as well as (former Gov. Jim) Risch or others would have hoped for,” Humble said of the 2006 tax shift.
Humbles says the school funding situation — and proliferation of local, voter-approved supplemental levies is even more troubling “because we’re in resurgent economic times.”
Humble would also push to use data to drive decision-making, inform curriculum and understand assessment results.
He would also push for a statewide pre-kindergarten system “as quickly as possible,” saying Idaho’s youngest students needed early education “yesterday.”
“I don’t think any superintendent has proposed a budget that fully implemented the dollars and FTE and capital expenditure to get that accomplished,” Humble said.
Although he is bringing proposals to the table, Humble has not run an active or transparent campaign. Organizers of the Idaho Debates on Idaho Public Television cancelled the Democratic debate because Humble did not prove he was campaigning actively.
He later told Idaho Education News he disagreed with that decision.
“It does a disservice to my opponent, Cindy Wilson,” Humble said. “If she’s viewed as a qualified candidate and would otherwise have been offered a debate slot but did not receive one because I’m not a worthy campaigner, if that’s what happened, that is not professional journalism that I agree with.”
Humble declined to provide Idaho EdNews with personal references and evidence of his professional experience. “This is not a job interview,” he said.
During an April candidate forum sponsored by EdNews, Humble proposed activating the National Guard to promote school safety and security.
In a followup interview, Humble stressed that local school leaders would have the option of seeking the National Guard’s help. He said he would need to review state statutes for legal guidance, consult with Idaho’s next governor and come up with a mechanism to pay the National Guard.
He added it might be wise to survey schools and parents before calling in the guard.
“We don’t want to go ‘Ready, fire, aim’ on this,” Humble said.
To address teacher retention and recruitment, Humble said Idaho needs to keep investing in teacher pay, even if the 2019 Legislature funds the final installment of the five-year, $250 million career ladder salary law. Humble would especially invest in salary increases for teachers with a few years of experience in order to incentivize them.
“You have to keep pace,” Humble said. “I believe it is a perpetual recalculation of salaries.”
If he wins the primary and November’s general election, Humble said he would only serve one four-year term and then retire. He considers himself a pretty liberal guy with a liberal values system and said his role would be to propose solutions and alternatives that the GOP-controlled Legislature has not considered.
Humble says he grew up in Colorado and earned a master’s of public health degree from Tulane University. Over the course of nearly 40 years, Humble said he worked as a manager and surveyor of hospitals in South Carolina, Colorado and Illinois. He retired about six years ago, and said he has lived in Boise for 15 years.
Humble does not have a campaign website.
Know before you vote
Visit www.idahovotes.gov to double check whether you are registered to vote and where your polling place is.
In case you missed it
Click here to read our profile of Republican state superintendent candidate Jeff Dillon.