Letter to the Editor of the Lewiston Tribune

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The LMT would not let me write an editorial response to Mary Trillhaase’s editorial. It’s apparently not their policy to allow a full 700-word response to something they disagree with. 

But they did print my 250 word rebuttal. Better than nothing. And they did let me refer their readers to my full column.

I want to respond to Marty Trillhaase’s editorial “Nothing subtle will stop a school voucher bill” that ran in both the Lewiston Tribune and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

First, I want to disabuse Trillhaase of the idea that Idahoans don’t spend enough money on K-12 education. According to the Idaho State Department of Education, Idaho taxpayers fund a total of $13,909 per K-12 pupil per year.

Up in Moscow, the Moscow School District receives $14,630 per student per year. Trillhaase’s complaint that we’re spending too little on K-12 education is bogus.

Second, the Boise legislative working committee reported “only 40% of Idaho students are proficient in math, only 55% in reading across all grades statewide, and only 29% of Idaho’s high schoolers are meeting college readiness benchmarks.” This is the system that Trillhaase says we should support and increase funding to.

Arizona created Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) where the money follows the child, not the system. Any Idaho student who opted for a different educational experience would receive about $7,000 per student per year. This would allow parents to choose the best K-12 educational option for each child, whether vo-tech, micro-school, co-op, tutoring, remote learning, private school, homeschool, or any other educational services that fit their individual needs.

Educational choice is a win for parents, kids, and taxpayers. But the educational industrial complex won’t allow itself to be put into a position where it is judged on merit.

You can read my full column in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News: shorturl.at/fJXY4