Rally hosted by Democrats; all invited
Democrats rallied across Idaho today. The hot topic: education and the problems with Idaho's focus on it – or lack thereof.
While the rally may have happened Saturday, those who attended say the problems started long ago when the government slashed spending.
"All of us, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Tea Party members want the same thing,” said Bannock County Democratic Chairman Dave Finkelnburg. “The question is, how do we get it?"
Finkelnburg added, “There are many people who feel short term profits are more important than long term investment. And investing in the classroom, in particular early childhood education, is far more important to education than people realize."
Finkelnburg said that's why they wanted to get a state senator at the rally.
"They just asked me to come and speak,” said District 29 State Senator Roy Lacey. “As the senator for this area, they wanted to get my feelings on the education system and what's been happening."
Lacey says Idaho is not doing well, compared to other states.
"We're sitting 49th in per-student spending and yet we're testing up towards the middle of all states,” he said. “That gives testament to our good teachers and administrators."
Finkelnburg said most constituents want more money put into education and want lawmakers to budget for education before anything else.
"Today we're only spending 80 percent of what we were in 2008 per classroom," Finkelnburg said. "Right now we're putting about three times as much into prisons as we are into classrooms and that's one of the things that got to change.
Lacey also said having the rally on the ISU campus was a significant. He said that buildings like those on the campus, as well as all school buildings, house our future and he said it just makes sense to invest in our future.
Both Lacey and Finkelnburg say the purpose of the rally is to inform people. Lacey also said they want to honor teachers who have “been given a crescent wrench to build a car, while the other side has a full tool box.”
Copyright 2013 NPG of Idaho. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.