OPINION
Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

All means all

Wendy Horman

I first ran for office for one reason: I care about all students having the opportunity for an excellent education. Every child. No exceptions.

A recent editorial by someone who doesn’t live in my district but claims he is voting for my opponent attempted to indicate that because I support an excellent education for every single child no matter where they are learning, somehow that excludes public school children.

The talking points are sadly not new, but they are wrong.

My record speaks the truth.

I have dedicated over three decades to serving Idaho students, first as a parent volunteer at Hillview Elementary where I tutored, ran family literacy nights and started the Fine Arts Mini Experience (FAME) program in the Bonneville School District as a parent volunteer.

I served on the Bonneville School Board from 2002-2013 and was President of the Idaho School Boards Association in 2007.

I sponsored the Idaho School Safety and Security Act in 2015 and am currently Chairman of the Idaho School Safety and Security Advisory Board.

I currently serve in the Idaho House of Representatives where I helped author and/or sponsor every public school appropriation bill in the last 10 years.

All that funding for historic teacher and staff salary increases last year?

I was there.

Massive increases for health insurance benefits?

I was there.

Huge investments in literacy and school facilities?

I was there.

New school safety and arts/music funding for children?

I was there.

Working with Governor Brad Little to create the Empowering Parents Microgrant program for students who come from families that may not be able to afford all the educational advantages that wealthy families can provide?

I was there.

There’s a reason Idaho Ed News called me “K12 Budgeter-In-Chief” and wrote, “No Legislator has more control over where education dollars go than Horman.”

Being a supporter of school choice programs like tax credits or education savings accounts, doesn’t mean I’m out to harm public schools or divert any of their funding.

It’s not who I am. My record defies such logic.

As this Fordham Institute article succinctly puts it, “School choice isn’t killing traditional public schools, It’s making them better.”

Research is clear that increasing educational choice improves outcomes for ALL children, including those in public schools. It’s a rising tide that lifts all boats.

Idaho already uses public dollars at private institutions, starting with the LAUNCH program which can be used at public, private and religious institutions.

The Advanced Opportunity program (which funds high school students seeking college credits and technical credentials), the Opportunity Scholarship (for college-bound students) and the Empowering Parents Microgrants (for K-12 students) all support students who attend public, private and religious schools.

These existing programs are fully constitutional in Idaho.

Keeping in mind that NONE of the school choice bills I have sponsored with Sen. Lori Den Hartog proposed taking money away from public schools, the 2024 BSU Public Policy Survey nonetheless asked respondents this question: “Would you favor or oppose a plan to allow Idaho parents to take that $8,000 out of the public school system and use it to enroll their child in a private or religious school?” 49% of survey respondents said they favor such a plan, 59% of Republicans, 46% of Independents and 35% of Democrats.

School choice and a parent’s right to choose the best education option for their child regardless of their income and ZIP code is not a fringe issue. It crosses ideological lines and is at the center of the electorate.

Helping ALL children succeed makes Idaho a better state for ALL of us.

Rep. Wendy Horman

Rep. Wendy Horman

Rep. Wendy Horman is a Republican from Idaho Falls. She is a member of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, which carves up Idaho’s annual budgets. She also served as co-chair of a legislative interim committee charged with reworking the state’s arcane education funding formula. Horman is a sixth-term lawmaker and former trustee in the Bonneville School District.

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