Idaho Teacher of the Year Jamie Esler, a science teacher at Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene, strongly urged lawmakers today to restore the operational funding that was cut from the state’s public schools through the recession.
“As the 2014 Idaho Teacher of the Year, I call on you to see the possibilities while acknowledging the current challenges and realities,” Esler told the Senate Education Committee this afternoon. “I call on you to recognize our potential while helping to ease our pain. Success is in the eyes of every single child. And it is in the hands of every single teacher. I see it every day. We, the public education team, are doing all that we possibly can and we are making a difference. You can too. Please join us. Please reinvest in the operational funding for the public education system, the future of the state of Idaho.”
Katie Graupman, an English and journalism teacher at Timberlake High School in Spirit Lake, also addressed the committee today; she’s among the recipients of this year’s Milken Educator Award, which gives top teachers from around the country $25,000 unrestricted awards for excellence. “I stand here before you a proud product of Idaho schools,” she told the lawmakers, having graduated from Priest River-Lamanna High School and the University of Idaho. “Idaho educators need your support,” Graupman said. “We need to … do everything we can to keep the incredible educators we already have in Idaho, and we need to encourage the very best and brightest students to become Idaho educators.” She called for following the 20 recommendations of the governor’s education improvement task force.