Idaho Business for Education released last week its Annual Legislative Scorecard, which rates legislators on how they voted on key education issues in the 2021 session.
“Education is the number one issue of importance to Idahoans,” said Rod Gramer, president and CEO of Idaho Business for Education. “However, Idahoans do not always understand how their legislators vote on education issues. The IBE Scorecard is meant to educate citizens on how their elected representatives voted in the last session.”
Each vote on the nine issues that IBE identified as important for education counted for 10 points on a scale of 100 points, except HB226 and SB1193 which counted for 20 points. These bills would have provided $6 million in federal grant money to support early education programs in Idaho.
The House version of the bill died on a 34-36 vote. The Senate version passed on a 18-17 vote but was left hanging on the legislative calendar without a vote when the House recessed.
Idaho is one of only four states that provides no state support for early education. As a result, nearly 60 percent of the children entering kindergarten are not ready to learn how to read and that percentage is in the 70-percentile for low-income and minority students.
“With nearly every public opinion survey showing that education is the top priority for Idahoans, we wanted to release the Scorecard so citizens can decide if their local legislator gives education the same high priority they do,” Gramer said.
Of the 105 senators and representatives, 25 lawmakers voted 90 percent or more in support of the issues IBE identified in the Scorecard. One senator came very close voting 89 percent on the nine issues.
Another 27 lawmakers voted 30 percent or less in support of these important education issues. Two legislators came very close to voting less than 30 percent, 33 percent each.
Five of the 15 members of the House Education Committee voted 30 percent or less on the nine issues IBE identified as important for public education. Only three of the 15 voted 90 percent or higher on these education issues.
Four of the nine senators on the Senate Education Committee voted 90 percent or more in support of the nine issues identified in the IBE scorecard. No senators on the Senate Education Committee voted 30 percent or less in support of these issues.
Here is a link to the IBE 2021 Legislative Scorecard: https://idahobe.org/legislative-scorecard/