Idaho has become a “scroll-down” state – that is, it ranks near the bottom in almost all important measurements related to investment in its people.
We’re 49th in GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, 47th in doctors per capita, 47th in average teacher salary, 48th in per-pupil education spending, 46th for supporting working parents,and 48th on a 2018 list of “Best States for Higher Education.”
How did we get this way? Even basic economics teaches that “investment” is an outlay designed to pay future dividends.
“For all the talk of being business-minded, the party in charge doesn’t seem to get this. Paying teachers low wages, underfunding higher education, rejecting Medicaid expansion (and millions of federal taxpayer dollars), and refusing to consider early childhood education are all decisions that cost Idahoans lots of money,” according to Rep. Ilana Rubel, assistant minority leader in the Idaho House of Representatives.
Idaho is one of only six states that doesn’t invest in pre-K education — despite statistics showing that programs in the other states show significant payoff in increased graduation rates and lifetime earnings.
Idaho Democrats believe we should educate all students for success, and support conditions that allow all people the opportunity to succeed. So let’s change the “ruling party” — our local legislators — in Idaho that keeps us at the bottom of the list. Let’s get out and vote this November.
JAMES W. RAMSEY