Idaho’s legislative session came to a close without funding pre-K, maintaining Idaho’s spot as one of only six states without state funded pre-K. Despite this, advocates made progress on early learning.
In late February, Idaho Business for Education, Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, and Rep. Hy Kloc organized a packed informational hearing on the importance of early learning legislation, where no one spoke against early learning. In addition to building support for early learning funding, Idaho Business for Education, a PIE Network member, has been working in coalition over the last two years to gain support for the Idaho School Readiness Act, which, according to their website, would give “parents the choice between home and off-site programs to get their four-year-old children prepared to learn in kindergarten.” Because Idaho has a similar political, geographical, and demographic make-up to Mississippi, the Idaho School Readiness Act is modeled off of Mississippi’s comprehensive and innovative early learning legislation. For a summary of the act, check out Idaho Business for Education’s whitepaper.
Expect to see early learning come up again in 2018. Idaho Business for Education Executive Director Rod Gramer stated says, “Last fall 49 percent of our incoming kindergarten students were not ready to learn how to read, meaning they could not recognize basic letters, sounds and colors. This means they don’t have an equal chance to be successful when they start their educational journey and way too many of them never catch up with their peers. It is essential we correct this issue through high-quality early educational opportunities for our students.”
To connect with other advocates planning their upcoming work around early learning, reach out. If you’re interested in finding out what other advocates are prioritizing during their ongoing legislative session, check out the results of our latest Priority Survey.