For generations, our family has run a ranching operation in Idaho. It is a rewarding but difficult business that requires dedicated and very hard-working employees.
One thing I learned as a rancher and businessman that I apply to my job now as governor is this — you can only attract and retain committed, quality workers by paying them competitively, offering good benefits and making them feel valued.
It was true on the ranch, and it is true with any workforce, especially our teachers.
I recently wrapped up a week of teacher appreciation rallies across Idaho to share our gratitude for teachers and school staff members, and to celebrate the passage of my “Leading Idaho” teacher health insurance bill. The new law seeks to extend better health benefits to keep Idaho teachers and their families healthy and allow them to keep more of what they earn.
When the people of Idaho elected me governor over three years ago, I never imagined we would achieve what I call “the trifecta.” This year, we already achieved record tax relief and we are on track to score record investments in education and transportation — all in one year. Our success is astonishing!
A big component of my Leading Idaho plan is to ensure we compensate and reward teachers for their hard work. My budget invests in these partners — our teachers — which ultimately serves Idaho families. My plan also seeks to give teachers up to a 10% pay increase along with $1,000 bonuses.
Because teachers get to work early, so they are prepared for a productive day of learning when their students walk through the classroom doors.
Because teachers are adapting all day long, tailoring lesson content to a variety of learning styles so every student can walk away with a better foundation of knowledge and skills.
Because teachers are meeting the daily challenges of helping one or two, perhaps more, students with individual behavioral needs.
Because teachers step up to fill needed roles in coaching, leading student clubs and other extracurricular activities.
Because teachers spend their evenings and weekends grading schoolwork and replying to texts, phone calls and emails from parents and students with special requests when they could spend that time with their own families.
Because teachers are passionate about preparing students for eventual careers and creating an environment where students feel safe and supported.
Most of all, because teachers partner with parents in the education of children, and we cannot meet our commitment to students without supporting the people who teach them in the classroom.
I want to thank my partners in the Legislature for making teachers a priority. By passing the teacher health insurance bill last week, they acknowledge the important role teachers play in our state.
So, teachers, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for everything you do for students and their families!
— Brad Little is the 33rd governor of Idaho, elected November 2018.