A recent column by former senator Russ Fulcher advocated for more local control over our public lands, crowing that “Idaho has within its borders resources of limitless potential.” Despite the next sentence, wherein he acknowledged having intelligent Idahoans to manage our natural resources, I believe he was referring specifically to those resources that support an extraction-based economic model. And, predictably, he was lamenting our state’s lack of access to those resources.
I can think of another resource within our borders that truly is limitless and over which our Legislature has absolute and ultimate control to determine its valuative potential: the human mind. Our Constitution places the responsibility for managing this extraordinary resource squarely in the hands of the Legislature: through its funding and policies regarding public schools.
As an Idaho teacher and mother, I often wonder if our legislators have the best model in mind when they conceive of our economic future. Resource extraction is necessary, yes, for a thriving economy. But the human mind is indeed a limitless resource, continually renewable. Certainly it merits as much value as our soil, oil, potatoes and trees. Are we investing in this human resource as though our very lives depended on it?
Debra Smith, Boise