Friday, September 5, 2014

Like it like that?

    Election season is in full swing and it’s time Idaho voters did some soul searching about whether or not change is in order.
    Evidence keeps mounting that unless Idaho voters change state leadership that we will continue on in an educational and economic freefall. Evidence of the state’s poor condition is everywhere.
    Localized school bond issues and periodic supplemental levies have failed to generate enough money to staunch the bleeding of state money from school districts. Poor state support has led to what should be the poster child for Idaho education.
    In Lapwai, high school gym classes will be offered only online because the district can’t afford a teacher. Students will have access to the gym, but the only certified gym teacher available will be through a computer hooked to the Idaho Digital Learning Academy, a state online school. The district also lacks a music program and is cutting teaching positions and a mental-health counselor, among others.
    The Urban Institute just released data that showed that the state’s refusal to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid has not only harmed poor people, it’s harming the economy while forcing Idahoans to help fund Medicaid expansions in other states.
    Idaho regularly has received poor grades for its substandard roads and bridges, frayed state parks and climbing university tuition. Perhaps worst of all, Idaho continues to rank 49th of all the states in per capita income.
    In other words, Idahoans are relatively poor, shabby and not well educated. This has gone on so long that it’s easy to conclude that we simply like it this way. If we don’t, the chance to change things will come at the polls in November when Republican dominance will get an aye or nay from voters.
    Better political balance could restore a chance for Idahoans to live culturally rich and prosperous lives. Otherwise, we’ll have the same old mac-and-cheese lives to look forward to and only ourselves to blame.

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