Within the past year, we retired and moved to Idaho. I was an elementary teacher for 32 years and am seriously concerned about Idaho’s education system.
First of all, I moved from a state with 180 school days; whereas, Idaho has only 175. With the new curriculum standards, students have to be reading and doing simple addition by the time they exit kindergarten. We had full-day kindergarten, but Idaho has a half-day.
How can the kindergarten teacher possibly meet the standards? Kindergarten is the foundation and, from the start, Idaho is setting their students up to fail.
Since retirement, I have been afforded the ability to shop or head to the ski slopes midweek. I am appalled to see busloads of elementary or middle school students at the slopes that spend the day learning to ski while the teacher sits in the lodge.
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Or, the amount of kids that are “shopping” with their mom or dad during a school day. Granted, there may be various dental/doctor appointments for these wayward students but they should be returned to school not pushing a shopping cart.
Currently, there are many ads that run on the TV stations explaining the woes of Idaho’s education system and the lack of preparedness upon graduation.
I applaud the governor for wanting to improve education and teacher salaries, but let’s do some simple math. There are 12 years of education, less five days for each of those years (60 days). There is only a half-year of instruction plus five days less for every kindergarten student (92.5 days). That means that Idaho students receive 152.5 days less education than most other states. That is nearly an entire school year. Couple that with frivolous “field trips” or lack of attendance, it’s no wonder Idaho’s education and graduation issues rank dead last.
I would encourage the governor, education administrators, taxpayers and parents to look into increasing the school year, having full-day kindergarten, and decreasing absences that take the students away from education.
Education should be paramount — it’s important for our children’s future. These children are our future leaders. Let’s educate them appropriately so they can succeed beyond high school.
Jeanne Cridebring, of Caldwell, retired after teaching elementary education for 32 years but currently teaches online for Mesa Community College. Her elementary career includes grades one, two and five.