Teachers from the entire state descended on Boise for the weekend for the event in what is billed as the largest democratic electing body in Idaho aside from the general election in the state.
Penni Cyr addressed the assembly with a convocation that this is the year of “What teachers make.” A salary, it seems, is the last thing on a teachers mind when asked what an educator makes.
Instead delegates emphasized the difference a teacher makes in the classroom everyday for students in their classrooms. The difference educational support personnel make from the moment a child catches the bus in the morning, to the impact aides in the classroom have providing for individual needs.
A sometimes heated debate developed on Friday over a guiding resolution calling for school campuses that are completely gun free; a proposal that could have a ramification of the IEA asking law enforcement to no longer wear firearms to schools. That particular proposal was tabled until next year after extensive debate by referring the matter to the IEA Directors.
The delegation also celebrated the incredible success that the teacher organization had this year in the capitol building influencing in this year’s legislation. In particular, the contentious career ladder and tiered licensure legislation. Those bills, said President Cyr, were the result of a renewed interest in involving teachers in the discussion; an interest that had been lacking at the statehouse for too long.
Cyr told members that legislators have wisely decided to include the IEA back in conversations. Teacher Mary Lee Ruch, who received the Marsha Nakamura Teaching Excellence Award, told IEA members regarding this year’s legislature that IEA members “hadn’t just won the game. We won the World Series!”
Also of note, frequent guest contributor on Idaho’s Promise, Travis Manning, received the Larry Caldwell Advocacy Award on behalf of the IEA assembly. Manning was praised for his advocacy for students and teachers. His advocacy has led him to write frequently in statewide outlets, run for legislative office, and (currently) run for a school board seat in Caldwell School District.