State gears up for mock election

Idaho high school government students will be among the first to weigh in on the closely watched gubernatorial and state superintendent campaigns.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa has invited high school students to begin preparing for the 2014 Idaho Student Mock Election.

The mock election is designed to get students engaged in politics and government and provide them a hands-on way to participate in the campaign.

The mock elections have been offered since 2004, in conjunction with the State Department of Education.

“Participation is the essence of democracy,” Ysursa said in the State Department of Education’s newsletter.

Students will receive one of two ballots, depending on their congressional district. They will be able to vote in Senate and congressional races, the governor and lieutenant governor’s races, and the statewide races for superintendent of public instruction, attorney general, treasurer, secretary of state and controller.

Teachers will be able to register students online beginning Sept. 8. Students will vote during school hours between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31.

Mock election results are scheduled to be released Nov. 3, the day before Election Day.

Practice ballots are available online now.

Teacher of the Year nomination deadline approaches

Time is running out to nominate your favorite teacher for one of the state’s highest education honors.

The State Department of Education is accepting Teacher of the Year nominations through Sept. 25.

Nominations can be sent your local school district or charter school. Nominations should be based on excellence in teaching that makes an impact on students.

Then, district leaders will narrow the list of candidates and nominate one teacher.

Jamie Esler, Senate Education Committee
Teacher of the Year Jamie Esler testifies in front of the Senate Education Committee earlier this year.

After Sep. 25, a selection committee comprising state education leaders and lawmakers will chose the 2015 Teacher of the Year.

Coeur d’Alene science teacher Jamie Esler is Idaho’s reigning Teacher of the Year.

The winner receives a $1,000 award from the state and a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet the president and other states’ teachers of the year. Idaho’s top teacher is also entered into the National Teacher of the Year contest and spends the year traveling the state talking about education issues and testifying in front of the Legislature.

Instructions for nominating a teacher are available on the State Department of Education’s website. Completed applications may be emailed to Teacher of the Year coordinator Portia Flynn, faxed to (208) 332-6836, or mailed to Portia Flynn, Teacher of the Year Coordinator, Idaho State Department of Education, P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID, 83720-0027.