Friday Idaho’s statewide teacher’s union began its two day annual assembly in Boise to lay down an agenda for the coming year. Many of the Idaho Education Association’s priorities come back to one item.
IEA delegate Bruce Schulz teaches computers and economics to seventh and eighth graders in Lewiston. He says the top priority for the association is the effort to repeal Students Come First. That’s the package of education laws passed in 2011 that seek to increase technology use in schools. They are up for a referendum vote in November. As for priority number two Schulz says it's funding education. But he adds, "that funding is tied back into those legislations.”
Schulz says the state’s education funding is now too intertwined with Students Come First to talk about them separately. In fact he says all the IEA’s priorities can be tied back to the repeal effort.
Pam Danielson is a delegate from Orofino where she teaches high school government and history. She agrees that the top priority is repealing Students Come First. Her number two is increasing membership.
“We had a lot of people leave the profession for a variety of reasons." She says. She wants to "just try to get our numbers back.”
But Danielson also ties her second priority to Students Come First. She says the laws hinder recruiting to the organization because of restrictions on collective bargaining.