We ran for office to give voice to Idaho families and children, to focus intently on the education of every single Idaho child. Yes, we’re legislators, but we’re mothers first. And to our fellow moms, women who themselves focus intently on the happiness and well-being of their own families, we say this:
We hear you.
We know you are struggling to figure it out right now. The pandemic has changed everything, and we know you need help. What the state has provided to you and to your child’s teacher is not nearly enough.
Like you, we are frustrated that our state decided that the challenges faced by parents and teachers were not urgent enough to consider in this year’s special session of the Idaho Legislature.
There were a variety of innovative proposals that could have helped right away, but those proposals were never given consideration. It’s another example of the troubling trend we see of politicians thinking they hold the solutions rather than trusting parents and teachers.
That needs to change.
You are expected to virtually stand shoulder to shoulder with your child’s teacher and work together to make sure the child is successful. Or in some cases expected to figure it out all on your own. While we have provided some additional resources to schools, we hear from people all over the state that those resources are not solving the problems you’re facing.
There is no greater need facing the state of Idaho than the scramble to educate our children during the pandemic. It is troubling that small businesses have to go without key employees who are forced to choose between keeping a job or staying home to supervise their child’s learning. It is frustrating that we are not making more funding available directly to educators with ideas for bold innovations. And it is appalling that Idaho offers no financial resources for parents who face hard decisions about what to do for their children in the months ahead.
Parents and teachers are desperate for help. And we hear you.
Special legislative sessions are reserved for emergency issues requiring legislation to address significant, immediate challenges. None of those issues are more important, more urgent, more critical than helping Idaho parents and teachers educate our children.
There is no better time to help them by modernizing our system, by eliminating bureaucracy and needless requirements, and by focusing on students — not on buildings and systems.
As one student in Boise said earlier this year, school is no longer a place – it is an experience.
Idaho elected officials – us included – must do their jobs and make sure that the learning experience is a good one. We need to go to work. We need to be thoughtful, creative and bold in how we help Idaho parents educate their children in the months ahead.
And we need your help. Please email us, message us, tweet us or post online (#WeHearYouIdaho) your stories, your challenges and your ideas. Help us make sure that when the Legislature convenes again, your needs are the top priority.
We know Idaho parents and teachers are frustrated, overwhelmed and worried at the prospect of yet again having to juggle a scary new reality. We won’t forget you. We will go to the mat for you. We have your back.
We hear you.