local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 last week
 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info

 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs



Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 23 - 29, 2002


Howard’s re-election bid is based on her record

Express Staff Writer

Running for re-election as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Marilyn Howard is also managing the administration of the largest budget in the state. As one only two elected Democrats in state office, even Howard concedes the race she is in with Republican Tom Luna and Libertarian Robbie Kier has attracted special interest.

In her election four years ago, when she beat Republican Anne Fox, it was "The independent voice of Idaho," speaking, Howard said in an interview.

Marilyn Howard

Howard hopes that voters will continue to vote by "looking at the record and vote on the basis of facts. I made promises four years ago and I delivered."

One of the reasons she has been able to deliver on those promises, Howard said, is her good relationship with the Legislature. Members of both parties come to the Department of Education to review issues. "There’s a lot of respect. I feel they’ve listened."

Things were not always thus. "Four years ago the Department of Education was in a near crises. We now have credible support for the schools," she said. "The school districts work very collaboratively with other organizations such as the Legislature."

She called her operating budget of $275.9 million "clean and clear," not only with state funds but also with federal funds.

"There is more money in the budget now, and we ought to give the Legislature credit for that. I asked for increases in compensation throughout the entire system. The Legislature responded. We were able to make salaries a bit more competitive."

Born and raised in Mackay, Howard is Idaho’s 23rd State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

She received her bachelor’s degree in education in 1960, and a master of science degree in education in 1965, both from the University of Idaho. She earned a doctorate in education in curriculum and instructional science from Brigham Young University in 1986. Howard also completed postgraduate work at Idaho State University, and has served as an adjunct faculty member at both ISU and UI.

Howard taught junior high school history and language arts at elementary and secondary schools in Idaho and Washington. In 1988, she was appointed principal at Moscow’s West Park Elementary School, and in 1992 she became the Supervisor of Developmental Pre-School for the Moscow School District.

As superintendent of public instruction she is the chief administrative officer for the State Department of Education, and serves on the State Board of Education and the State Land Board. She is also a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers, a director of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, and one of Idaho’s representatives to the Education Commission of the States.

Her Republican opponent, Tom Luna, has cited her experience as an educator and not as a businessperson as a reason there is perceived inefficiency and soaring budget in the department.

"The reality is the state budget money goes to school districts and is targeted for special purposes. It is heavily monitored at the local level and by the Legislature." If there is a charge of inefficiency, the question should be directed to the local district, she said.

As a school administrator she had many managerial tasks, including managing school budgets, hiring and firing, inventory, overseeing the setting of goals and measuring against those goals. Asked the difference between her and a businessperson’s experience she said, "I couldn’t borrow and had to live within my budget."

During her administration as superintendent of public instruction, she has overseen the implementation of the Idaho Reading Initiative, additional grant funds to begin character education and family literacy projects, and the implementation of the state’s new K-8 and 9-12 Achievement Standards Testing.

Another of Howard’s projects is Grow Your Own, which is devised to provide a career ladder program to assist school district employees and volunteers in completing requirements for an associate or baccalaureate degree in education, with a bilingual and/or English as Second Language endorsement.

"The intent is to help our students learn" by having additional support in the classrooms, she said.

She has also increased the amount of money for the ESL program. This has been consistent with increased number of Hispanic students who have come into the state with a limited knowledge of English, she said.

"We undertook a study last year as a better way to serve the ESL. In addition to that we reached out to the Hispanic students."

The IRI can now be given in both languages to better assess what a student knows. And parents are given parental guides in both Spanish and English.

"Federal monies are directed to high need areas. We look to where the needs exist. We recognize that students will need to be fluent. The programs need constant scrutiny and research on the best available information."

Howard said she has tried to represent what is best for education. "I hope people understand it’s apolitical. It’s about what’s good for kids and education. It’s the issues that are most important. Our goal is to find the best ways to educate our kids."



Mountain Jobs

Formula Sports

Idaho Conservation League



Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.