The Idaho Education Association created a History Project Task Force made up of longtime IEA
members and staff from across the state. The Task Force was created to capture, record, and
publish the 120-year history of the Idaho Education Association.
Special thanks also go to the many staff and volunteers of the Idaho Education Association
who have contributed to the organization over the past 120 years, making it the advocacy group
it is today.
The Story of the Idaho Education Association Since 1892
Voices of Courage,Champions of ExcellenceVoicesofCourage,ChampionsofExcellenceTheStoryoftheIdahoEducationAssociationSince1892 The Story of the Idaho Education Association Since 1892The Idaho Education Association was founded on March 3, 1892, and quickly established itself as theleading advocacy organization for public education in Idaho. During its 120 years of championinguniversal, tuition-free, quality public education for Idaho’s children, the Association has made greatstrides. It has lobbied for high student and teacher standards, embraced innovation in the classroom,won fair workplace rights for educators, and been the foremost voice for adequate and equitable statefunding. Voices of Courage, Champions of Excellence tells the story of the brave educators who, on behalf of theirstudents and their profession, confronted powerful policymakers, partnered with parents and other educationsupporters, and spoke loudly at the capitol and in the voting booth so Idaho’s children could have the best chancepossible to become productive, educated citizens with a stake in our state’s and our country’s success.The Idaho Education Association’s:– Mission Statement (adopted in 1995)The Idaho Education Association advocates the professional andpersonal well-being of its members and the vision of excellence inpublic education, the foundation of the future.– Focus Statement (2000)To help local associations build capacity to achieve excellence inpublic education.– Core Values (2004) Public Education: Preserving the foundation of our democracy.Justice: Upholding fair and equitable treatment for all.Unity: Standing together for our common cause.Integrity: Stating what we believe and living up to it.$10.00Jennifer A. StevensFirst school in Mountain Home.
1Voices of Courage,Champions of ExcellenceThe Story of the Idaho Education Association Since 1892Jennifer A. Stevens
4AcknowledgementsThe Idaho Education Association created a History Project Task Force made up of longtime IEAmembers and staff from across the state. The Task Force was created to capture, record, andpublish the 120-year history of the Idaho Education Association. Without them, this book wouldnot be in your hands. Members include: Dale Baerlocher, Marcia Banta, Charlotte Cooke, SueFinlay-Clark, Terry Gilbert, Judy Harold, Sue Hovey, Danial McCarty, Rob Nicholson, PeggyPark, Kathy Phelan, Dan Sakota, Willie Sullivan, and Kathy Yamamoto.A smaller group within the Task Force took on the detailed management of the project,and the book could not have been completed without their passion, good humor, research, andother hard work. This group was composed of Sherri Wood, Jim Shackelford, Lyn Haun, GayleMoore, and Bob Otten. All are former teachers, and their passion for the Idaho EducationAssociation and the children it serves is evident in everything they do. They entrusted me with themanagement of the project and more importantly, with the telling of their story, an awesome taskto which I hope I’ve done justice. The Association President, Penni Cyr, its Executive Director,Robin Nettinga, and the IEA Board of Directors all have been instrumental to the project as well,lending us their enthusiasm and their funding support. Without them, the project could not havereached completion.Special thanks also go to the many staff and volunteers of the Idaho Education Associationwho have contributed to the organization over the past 120 years, making it the advocacy groupit is today.I also want to thank Kelly Horn, who attended public schools in southeast Idaho and is anewly-minted M.A. in History from Boise State University. She provided invaluable assistance onthis book and wrote some of the interesting side stories you will read throughout.Finally, the book is dedicated to all of Idaho’s teachers who arrive at school each day with amission to mold tomorrow’s citizens into people who are engaged, impassioned, and equippedwith the skills they need to make our country a better place. Their dedication to our children is adebt that is impossible to repay.— Jennifer StevensBibliographic NoteThe story on the following pages was written by examining the records of the IdahoEducation Association. It is intended to be a history of the group’s advocacy work andpassion for educating Idaho’s children. Any reader who wishes to find out more about thesources used can contact the author, Jennifer Stevens, at email@example.com.All photographs of schools, teachers, and students were taken in Idaho.
5Those who make history rarely understand the significance of their actions at thetime. Such was surely the circumstance when Idaho’s educational leaders foundedthe Idaho State Teachers’ Association on March 3, 1892. g From its founding, theISTA, or Idaho Education Association as it is known today, grappled with the manycomplicated issues facing the education of Idaho’s youth. g The IEA is Idaho’sprofessional organization for educators and, as such, has led the state through itslong educational evolution from an inefficient system of myriad rural schoolhousesstaffed by poorly trained, inadequately equipped, and dismally paid teachers toa system organized by districts in which resources are shared across schools andchildren and families can count on well-trained and highly qualified teachers. gOver the years, the IEA has provided the platform for educational debate and ledthe charge for an improved educational investment. g Although their courageousactivism often resulted in criticism from the general public, IEA members championedexcellence in public education and brought Idaho out of the dark days of the 1970swhen it was first discovered that the state ranked 50th of all states in educationalinvestment. g Although Idaho’s ranking remains close to the bottom, the IEA hastaken many steps to provide Idaho’s children with an excellent education in spite ofthe funding challenges. g During the IEA’s 120 years, historical circumstances haveprovoked statewide debates over curriculum changes, technological evolution, theplace of patriotism in education, teachers’ rights, the role of schools in communities,and qualification of and employment protections for teachers. g As an intenselydemocratic organization from its 19th century founding, the IEA has advocated forincreasingly high levels of qualification for educators, pushing them to become betterteachers and administrators. g No matter the winds of change, the Idaho EducationAssociation has maintained its fundamental focus: fighting for high quality and equaleducational opportunities for all of Idaho’s children, whether special needs, gifted,blind or deaf, or minority. g This book tells the story of the battles fought, details thevictories accomplished, and anticipates the challenges ahead.Introductiono
6The attendees at the first IdahoState Teachers’ AssociationConvention arrived in Boiseby train in early spring 1892,bustling with excitement aboutthe new professional organization they werehere to join. They came with curricularideas for the children they taught andcreative methods to share their knowledgewith colleagues. Educational leaders inthis new western state had decided onlythree weeks earlier that there was a needfor a statewide organization dedicated toensuring Idaho’s children received the besteducation the United States could offer. StateSuperintendent of Public Education, Judge J.E. Harroun, called a meeting in his office onMarch 3, 1892, to discuss the issue with fourcounty superintendents and, together, theycalled for the establishment of a permanentstate teachers’ association. That day, theyhatched the idea for what is now the IdahoEducation Association.1892-1926Chapter 1oThe early years of the Idaho State Teachers’ Association are replete with stories ofhope, innovation, and passion. g The events of these first few decades set the stagefor the many years to come. g The group gradually evolved from an organizationof impassioned teachers who cared deeply about improving the educationalopportunities for children across the state of Idaho to a group of members whotook concrete actions to ensure that those opportunities were available. g Fromdebates over curriculum and teacher certification and standards, members of theAssociation demonstrated to Idaho’s policymakers that their classroom knowledgeand expertise about children’s needs were assets. g The organization proved to besavvy about budget and organizational matters as well, advising and sometimeslobbying the state on matters related to funding public education and how to classifyand organize the many schools throughout Idaho. g The Association recognizedthat it could offer information and data on elementary, middle and high schools, aswell as the particular challenges associated with rural schools. g Throughout thistime, members focused heavily on the role of the teacher, forming a consensus thatthe teacher should educate students of all ages about good citizenship and serve asupstanding moral citizens themselves. g As time passed and teachers became moreconsistently trained, the profession matured tremendously and became one of whichIdahoans could be proud and to which they owed much.Beginnings
7Teacher and studentsat tent school, locationunknownThe atmosphere in the capital city justthree weeks later was gay indeed. Harrounand his collaborators had called for the stateconvention of teachers and other educators tobegin in Boise on March 22. Arriving in townon specially negotiated train fares, teachersgathered at the state capitol to implementHarroun’s plans and make the creation of aprofessional organization a reality. GovernorNorman B. Willey and Boise Mayor J.A.Pinney both arrived at the gathering to speakto attendees, whose numbers were small butenthusiastic. Idaho’s promise was palpable,with its ample natural resources and growingpopulation in a state that was less than twoyears old. Railroads were being extendedinto and throughout the state, connecting theremote and landlocked area with the rest ofthe West and the bustling nation. Irrigatorswere starting successful enterprises in theBoise Valley and across the southern half ofthe arid state, and with those businesses camepeople and families with children. Willeyspoke to the attendees about the children’sneeds and about the defects of existing schoollaws in Idaho. To demonstrate the greatness ofIdaho’s educational system, and to correct theEastern idea that “the children of this greatwest are well-meaning savages,” the teachers,principals, and superintendents in attendancetalked at length about the educational exhibitthey would display at the World’s Fair, to beheld the following year in Chicago. And mostimportantly, between the soprano solos andsocial intercourse, Superintendent Harrounappointed a five-member committee todetermine the next steps toward a permanentorganization. Before the convention’sconclusion, the committee’s three women andfive men proposed a constitution for the newlycreated State Teachers’ Association of Idaho.
8From these humble beginnings in March1892, the Idaho State Teachers’ Association’s(ISTA) adopted constitution made clear thatthe mission of the organization was “topromote the educational interests of the state,and to further insure the future progress ofthe teachers’ work as a profession.” Leadersbelieved that professionalizing education wasthe key to ensuring universal quality freepublic education for all of Idaho’s youth.But the goal of professionalization provokedmany controversial battles during the ensuing120 years. The 1892 convention saw the firstorganization-level discussions about many ofthe issues that teachers continually fought forduring the 20th century: fair and competitivesalaries and workplace conditions for teachers;increased standards and qualifications forteachers and administrators; equality ofeducation for children no matter the wealthof their community. The ISTA believed thatwithout highly qualified teachers who weredrawn to the state because of the competitivesalaries and benefits, the education of Idaho’schildren would continue to operate with afrontier mentality.Patriotic to their core, members of theISTA also intended the organization to bea democratic institution from the start,providing each county in the state with arepresentative and setting a reasonable andaffordable dues schedule of $1 annuallyper person. They also adopted a manner ofworking through committees, where memberswould be represented and policies couldbe recommended to the larger body. Earlycommittees included the constitutionallycreated executive and legislative committees,comprised of three and five members,respectively, with the first intended to arrangeannual meetings and the second directed to“use their influence securing needed legislationsuch as they or this association may deemnecessary for the best interests of the state.”Legislative work was deemed necessary as atool for ensuring that Idaho’s children werebeing provided the best education possible,although some came to believe that schoolsand politics were better left apart. TheCommittee on Resolutions was a policy body,and the first convention’s members voted torecommend higher standards in the grantingof teaching certificates and the creation of ateacher training school — known as a normalschool — in Idaho. The same committeerecognized and expressed disapproval ofefforts by school boards throughout the statewho were trying to reduce teachers’ salaries.Therefore, the committee urged educatorsto refuse to accept lower salaries than theirpredecessor when taking a new position inthe state. The committee structure was afluid one which evolved continuously as theorganization faced new and challenging issuesover the years.Teacher and studentsat wooden school,location unknownMeanwhile, buzz over the first ISTA convention hadgrown throughout the week, with the Idaho DailyStatesman covering each day’s proceedings andpraising the educators’ organization.
9Meanwhile, buzz over the first ISTAconvention had grown throughout the week,with the Idaho Daily Statesman coveringeach day’s proceedings and praising theeducators’ organization. Before concluding,the convention featured discussion and debateover what to teach in school, setting the stagefor what would become one of the mostimportant and long-standing functions of theorganization: a platform for expressing anddebating the evolving vision for education.New member teacher Miss Newton explainedin her presentation that in addition to basicssuch as reading and math, producing moral,upstanding citizens was the goal of education.The goal of teaching morals and character tostudents continued to be an important onewell into the 21st century, although methodsremain controversial even today.Closing its three-day meeting on March25 and setting a time to meet again in Aprilthe following year, the group accepted aninvitation from the Rapid Transit Companyto ride its electric cars on an excursion tothe Natatorium for a swim and a party. Thecelebration was no doubt lively, as teachers,principals, and administrators rejoiced overeducation’s new beginning in Idaho.Getting Settled:the First 25 YearsFollowing the successful first meeting, leadersin the Idaho State Teachers’ Association spentthe next 25 years formalizing the organization,making efforts to reach educators acrossthe state, and taking major strides towardprofessionalization. As the Association’smembership grew, the group began to reachout to the National Education Association aswell as to other state’s education organizationsto form closer alliances. However, it also beganto recognize that its members had many variedinterests that could not all be addressed in alarge group setting. Primary school teachers,high school teachers, and administratorshad very different everyday concerns, andthe organization of the association graduallyevolved to reflect those issues. The ISTAachieved the necessary flexibility in itsorganizational model while also workingtoward providing educators a voice in generalpolicies that affected their classrooms everyday, such as textbook selection, curriculumdesign, and content.Over the next few years, teachers whoattended the annual meetings overflowed withideas and visions for education for Idaho’schildren. As the Teachers’ Association movedits annual meeting to different parts of thestate each year, it became common to feature adiscussion of meatier issues related to teachingand the classroom. These meetings offered aplatform where open debates could be heldabout the ideal teacher (and how moral he orshe should be), what constituted a high school,how to teach reading, the role of music andart in the classroom, geography, civics, and thevalue of nature study. Participants discussedlanguage instruction in the intermediategrades, methods of teaching, and the need forRoswell School, date unknown
10physical education. In December 1893, theAssociation appointed a committee to organizea State Reading Circle that could recommend“proper” books to be read across the state.The Reading Circle Board was formalized viaISTA Constitutional amendments in 1900 andcharged with planning curricula related topedagogy as well as culture. The ISTA wantedto create a streamlined education across thestate, for teachers as well as for students.Teachers as Role Models andthe Students’ Moral CompassWith regard to cultural issues, one of Idahoeducators’ early concerns — and one thatlasted for many decades — was that studentsreceive moral guidance at school. Thismandate required teachers to both act as amoral compass for their students and alsoteach their students about morality. At thetime the State Teachers’ Association wasfounded in 1892, the country was steeped inVictorian purity and engaged in a lengthy andheated debate over temperance and the evil ofdrink. Perhaps inevitably, then, these moralissues crept into debates about education inIdaho. Some of the greatest leaders of thetemperance movement were women, and,coincidentally, women also made up a highproportion of the teaching profession. In1894, the ISTA’s annual meeting featured asystematic report of teachers’ work and a“stronger conviction of the value of moraland religious instruction as essential elementsof the education of our youth.” Along theselines, that year’s Committee on Resolutionsresolved that:“the development of the personalcharacter of the pupils and the formationof habit in all right directions is thesupreme function of the teachers. Forthis reason we hold that teachers shouldbe the embodiment of those virtues thatcharacterize the highest types of manhoodand womanhood and we deprecate anyconduct or habit that detracts from thedignity of the teachers as such, or as anexemplar of precepts of true morality.”Other papers urged teachers to do “earnestand self denying work,” and to uphold higherstandards and morals, including no tobacco,no intoxicating drinks, no turkey shooting,no attending baseball on Sundays, and noother reprehensible activities. According to theleaders at the time, true role models would notengage in such things.In addition to acting as role models,the ISTA wanted educators to teach thosesame morals. As the ISTA continued togrow in influence into the 20th century,it recommended laws that would assist inimplementing character education. In 1907,the Association recommended that state lawbe altered to mandate teaching the Bible inpublic school, and members even discussedchanging the State Constitution to this effect.Such a law did not come to fruition, but theResolutions Committee decided that, at theminimum, “non-sectarian religious instructionshould not be prohibited in the public schoolsof Idaho.” Thus, from very early on, there wasgreat concern with making “good Americancitizens,” and teachers were expected to beamong the best role models available.“…the development of the personal character ofthe pupils and the formation of habit in all rightdirections is the supreme function of the teachers.For this reason we hold that teachers should bethe embodiment of those virtues that characterizethe highest types of manhood and womanhoodand we deprecate any conduct or habit thatdetracts from the dignity of the teachers as such,or as an exemplar of precepts of true morality.”— Committee on Resolutions, 1894
111896, Kellogg SchoolGood American citizens were alsoexpected to be patriotic, and the Associationfocused on teaching patriotism as early as1894. Creating good, productive citizenswas a goal of the State Teachers’ Associationfrom the start, and over the course of theAssociation’s 120 years, the country wentthrough many periods when patriotism in theschools was emphasized. When discussingproper books to assign in 1894, teacherscomplained that the readers currently inuse were unacceptable because they didnot “contain selections that tend to teachpatriotism.” Another teacher retorted: “Weshould be capable to teach patriotism withouta book as morals without the Bible.” Butclearly, the debate was not over whether toteach patriotism, but how. Teaching civics waspresented as one solution. Teachers declaredthat the “perilous time” of “class jealousy,distrust and conflict” in which they were livinghad resulted in a large percentage of citizenswho were uninformed about the “sacredness”of governmental authority. They resolvedthat teaching civics would help smooth suchdivisions, and with “every man and woman…well versed in all that pertains to civilgovernment,” the country would be safer.Wartime regularly brought this issue to thefore for educators in Idaho. As tensions withSpain heated up in anticipation of what wouldbecome the Spanish American War in April1898, the ISTA’s Committee on Resolutionsrecommended, and the full membershippassed, a resolution in late 1897 requiring all
12educators in Idaho to fly “Old Glory” overevery school house and inculcate patriotism.Some years later, when relations in Europewere strained and eventually led to WorldWar I and the 1917 Bolshevik Revolutionin Russia, Idaho educators were intent onteaching students about the “meaning” ofAmericanism. In 1918, that meant ISTAsupport for the Americanization Act, a billthat would require all residents of Idaho toattain a fifth grade proficiency in English. Andin 1919-1920, at the height of the country’sfirst Red Scare, the ISTA’s ResolutionsCommittee recommended a pledge of loyaltyto “sane Americanism” and urged teachersto recognize the importance of their efforts inguiding students through “those principles ofAmericanism which have made and which willkeep us a free people.” Around the same time,Kellogg’s superintendent, working in a highlycharged atmosphere caused by labor unrestin north Idaho, designed an Americanismcurriculum that required students in grades1-8 to learn the Pledge of Allegiance, the flagsalute, and many patriotic poems and songs.Upper grade-school children were required towrite a story explaining what it meant to bea “real American.” Such pleas for patrioticinstruction dominated discussions aboutclassroom content for many years and wereespecially overt during times of war.The ProfessionThe early years of the ISTA also featuredcritical debates over teacher qualificationand teacher training. Expecting the bestfrom their members became commonplacein the organization. When the ISTA’s fourthconvention was held in Moscow in late 1894,qualifying to be a teacher required only thata person be 16 years of age or older and passan examination by the county superintendent.There were no consistent standards forsuch examinations, and teaching certificateswere passed out rather freely. Our children,exclaimed one convention attendee in 1894,“are protected from quack doctors but notquack teachers!”Teachers in the Association blamed thelack of qualifications for failures in teaching,and the members of the ISTA launched a100-year fight for more formalized trainingand higher qualifications as one solution tothe problem. The 1894 convention beganwith a discussion about the issuance ofpermits, all agreeing that more training andexperience were necessary. Compared toother states, Idaho had low expectationsfor its teachers’ education. The ISTAfavored more professional training, even forexisting members, and was thrilled with thelegislature’s creation in 1893 of two normalschools designed to train teachers in Idaho.While normal school education was a goodstart, most agreed that it did not automaticallyqualify a person as a good teacher. So theISTA — and later, the IEA — spent many1895, Sublett School
13years trying to raise the bar so students wouldhave the best teachers available. The goal ofimproved standards was not meant to erecta barrier to those entering the profession butto ensure that those who chose teaching asa career would be the best people to educatestudents. ISTA members wanted to createrequirements so that teaching never became afallback or temporary profession, but rather, acherished career.To accomplish the goal of more qualifiedteachers, the ISTA’s first printed legislativeprogram, in 1898, included the organization’ssuccessful demand that both the Lewistonand Albion normal schools be placed undera single state board that could make theprograms more consistent and rigorous.The ISTA lobbied for additional changes toIdaho educator training and qualification aswell, including a minimum age of 30 for theState Superintendent of Public Instruction.By the end of this early period, the ISTA wasrecommending further requirements with thebacking of the state superintendent, EthelRedfield. Redfield addressed the 1919 annualconvention and argued that certificationstandards needed renewed improvement.Almost all surrounding states had passed lawsrequiring four-year degrees for teaching in thehigh schools, and she recommended that Idahodo the same. She and the ISTA lobbied forlaws that would require teachers with only anormal school education (aimed specifically atteaching) and no bachelor’s degree be confinedto the elementary schools. Those with four-year university degrees but no special trainingin early childhood education should be steeredtoward teaching the upper grades and keptout of the lower schools without specialpreparation.Salaries were also a subject of debate formembers of the ISTA. Competitive wageswere viewed as a tool for attracting the bestteachers and therefore providing students withthe best education.Some gains weremade early on inthe Association’shistory. And,despite public fearsabout teachersjoining the largerlabor movementand becoming“radical” in thesecond decade ofthe 20th century,educators debatedthe salary issuewithout threat of striking. ISTA PresidentJ.J. Rae spoke freely of the salary question in1919, hoping the legislature would set a salaryschedule that would make wages consistentfrom district to district and county to county.Explaining the discrepancy between teacherswith the lowest level certificate receiving $100monthly while some normal school graduatesreceived only $90, Rae strongly urgedlegislative action.A major shortage of teachers inIdaho around this same time caused theorganization to examine potential causes.The Committee on Professional Standardsand Progress issued a report in 1920 onIdaho teacher statistics such as medianages, gender distribution, educationalbackgrounds, and average salaries. The“Report of the Investigation on the TeacherShortage in Idaho” stated that there were4,800 teachers in Idaho and identifiedeight prime causes of unrest amongeducators, including insufficient salaries,poor buildings and equipment, indefinitecontracts, unpleasant social and livingconditions, lack of social advantages, poorcommunity relations, lack of institutionaland professional advantages, an “absenceof state consciousness,” and lack ofcooperation with the state institutions in1902, Lost River School
14meeting the shortage fairly. The reportcalled for higher salaries and better schoolbuildings, and it urged teachers to educatethe public about problems in education.Although Idaho teachers — restless ornot — never did affiliate with the larger labormovement of that era, they did begin to forgestronger relations with the National EducationAssociation in the early 1920s as a way toestablish solidarity in the profession. Membersof the ISTA began to serve at the nationallevel and attend national conventions, thenreturned to their state organization convincedthat the NEA could unify the legitimate needsof teachers nationwide. They recommendedthat Idaho teachers become members of thenational organization, and they urged thestate association to affiliate with the NEA, arelationship that was formally created in 1920.Salaries, standards, and the nationalorganization would remain issues of concernfor the ISTA in the years to come.The IEA’sOrganizational EvolutionWhile working toward major changes instandards for teachers and the other keyeducational issues, the organization itself hadto grow and evolve to meet Idaho children’sneeds. By 1896, the ISTA recognized thatthe increasing number of attendees at itsannual gatherings translated into publicapproval and credibility. While the teachersstill desired “more complete professionalpreparation,” they were pleased with theeducational advancements that had been madein the state and turned to curricular concernsand organizational issues in expandingtheir mission. To execute on this, the 1896convention sanctioned a five-person committeeto revise the constitution for discussion at thenext annual gathering.Constitutional revision took a numberof years. Small changes were made, but in1900, members voted to draft an entirely newconstitution. By the time the 15th annualmeeting in 1905 rolled around, the ISTA haddivided its members into sections so thateducators could attend sessions relevant totheir daily lives in the classroom. The PrimarySection, Grammar Section, and High SchoolSection each presented papers that dealt withtopics of concern for teachers in those grades.For instance, the Primary Section, whichboasted 70 attendees in 1905, discussed issuesrelating to teaching character and studyingchild development. The Grammar Section,made up of members who routinely taughtintermediate-age children, discussed methodsof teaching history and geography. The HighSchool Section discussed “the problem withhigh school boys” and issues such as teachingscience and history in high schools. In additionto meeting in sections, General Sessionsallowed members of each group to meet anddiscuss issues relevant to all educators.East Side School, Idaho Falls area, date unknown
15This method of division continued formany years, and additional sections wereadded over time. In a move that reflected thepolitics of the day but also foreshadowed thedivisions of the future, administrators createda Superintendents’ and Principals’ Sectionin 1907. Although collaboration betweenadministrators and classroom teacherscontinued for some time, the move was aclear indication of the divergent interests ofteachers and administrators. Perhaps to easethe transition and the split, the administratorsdid request that their section meet separately(instead of simultaneously) from the HighSchool Section in the future, so that theycould continue to benefit from attending theteachers’ sessions. While classroom teachersin all sections spent most of their meetingtime at the annual conventions discussingcontent matter, the superintendents’ sessionsfocused on issues such as medical inspectionsin the schools (this was a major concernbecause of the growing understandingabout the spread of communicable diseases)and educational funding legislation. Thesuperintendents agreed in 1907 to appointa committee to study and draft resolutionsrelated to this point.In addition to the Superintendents’Section, a Rural Section was created around1910, geared toward studying and improvingrural education. Rural school life in Idahohad been a subject of concern for the ISTAsince its founding in 1892. Because the vastmajority of Idaho was rural at the time, andremained so for many decades to come, theISTA felt an overwhelming obligation to servethese students with an education equal to thatoffered in more urban areas. Rural schoolswere dominated by one-room school housesin remote locations where teachers were ofteninexperienced, young, and required to bejanitor, babysitter, woodcutter, and teacherall at once, leaving students underserved.In addition, many rural children spent themajority of their time working — whether onfamily farms, mines, or other manual jobs —instead of in school. There was a definite zealfor lifting these children out of educationaldarkness. In 1894, the organization declaredthe “rural school problem” to be one inwhich a student was unable to “think byhimself and for himself,” and membersworried that rural students did not know howto think “accurately” or how to pursue goodliterature, a love of nature, or knowledgeof our government. The ISTA deemed thesolution to the problem to be “obedience tomoral and civil law, through being led into alove for the freedom under them” and lobbiedfor a longer school year to help rural children.Yet, there was also a strong desire to keepfamilies on farms.The tension between the desire tomaintain a nation of farmers and thesimultaneous hope to improve educationalopportunities often worked at odds in thestate of Idaho. While members of the ISTAyearned to bring education to rural areas,Idahoans’ genuine desire to eschew urbanlife and help maintain America’s heritage asan agricultural nation meant rural educationwould be a subject of great debate. In the1890s, farmers nationwide experienced asevere agricultural depression, and Idahofarmers were not spared. The ISTA went onrecord regarding the importance of educated1902, Kootenai Countyteachers
17farmers, making education affordable forthem, yet still encouraging those educated inagriculture to return to the farm. Concernsover rural and agricultural education beganto dominate the annual meetings by 1909.In particular, apprehension remained thatchildren were leaving the country and headingto town for schooling because of the poornature of rural schools. The desire to maintaina robust country population inspired theISTA’s Rural Section to tackle issues relatedto the rural school’s significance to thecommunity as well as the social importanceof the country school. By 1910, the fullmembership agreed to appoint a legislativecommittee to study the problem and to lobbyfor laws that would change the distributionof county funds based on school population;allow high schools in incorporated towns andcities to create union high school districts (bymerging multiple independent districts); andprovide state funding to each school with ateacher fully employed in high school work.That year, the Association went on the recordin favor of agricultural education, whichwould provide a formal vocational educationfor farmers intending to return to the land,and in 1915, thanks to the ISTA, the IdahoLegislature extended the minimum school yearto seven months. Thus, the early 20th centurywas critical for the ISTA’s work on behalf ofrural Idaho children.The ISTA’s Rural Section was not the onlyone to deal with fundamental issues. The HighSchool Section provided an equally vigorousforum for determining the vision for highschool education in Idaho. At a time whenonly a small percentage of students continuedpast high school to obtain a universityeducation, there was much debate over theintent of high school education and what itshould offer. Should it be steeped in classics,or should it also offer vocational training?These questions were being debated nationally,as well, as high schools began to serve a largerand more varied student population, manyof whom had goals other than attendingcollege. At the turn of the 20th century, theISTA’s High School Classification Committee— which preceded the High School Section— focused on accrediting high schools so thatuniversities would have a system by which tojudge the students who emerged from them.The committee recommended that therebe opportunities to attend high school fora period of one to four years. Two coursesof study were recommended for the fouryear high school course: one was designedto prepare students for university study inscience, the other for university study inhumanities. The curriculum for each of thesewas almost identical, with five 40-minuteperiods per week of math, English, andhistory and government. However, the sciencecourse then included another five periods ofscience, while the humanities course includedfive more periods of Latin study. Just a fewyears later in 1904, the ISTA lobbied for freepublic high schools for all students. Becausethe high schools previously had served only asmall percentage of the population, they hadrequired tuition payments by students. Thus,in addition to spurring debate over a highschool vision, the Association oversaw theimplementation of this vision across the stateand was critical in making it available to anystudent who desired the education. From thispoint forward, the widespread opportunityto obtain a classical education beyond age14 differentiated American education fromEuropean education throughout much of the20th century.More organizational changes wereon the way for the ISTA. In 1919, theAssociation established five committees at itsannual meeting to deal with long-standingconcerns for the professional organization.The Committee on Teacher Shortage would
18determine how to make the profession moreattractive, what constituted a living salaryfor teachers, and how positions could bemade more permanent. The Committee onProfessional Standards and ProfessionalProgress was charged with developingstandards for the profession of teaching. TheCommittee on Educational Publicity wouldrun the newly approved newsletter, TheIdaho Teacher. The Legislative Committeewould consider proposals for legislation andreport on progress that could be achieved bylegislation. The Budget Committee would steerthe Association’s finances. The committeeswere charged with preparing reports inanticipation of the annual meeting, publishingthem in the newsletter, and awaiting the votesof the Delegate Assembly.The refined committee structure did notsolve all of the problems associated with agrowing organization. They needed staff.Finally, in 1925, the ISTA voted to employan executive secretary, establish permanentheadquarters in Boise, and reorganize on amore “effective” basis. In these early years, theISTA existed rent-free in a room at the CapitolBuilding, moving to Room 331 in the SonnaBuilding on Main Street when the legislaturearrived every other year. The middle years ofthe 20th century would see the organizationgrow to occupy even more space.ConclusionIn addition to the usual standing concerns,some issues that seemed minor in theseearly years became much bigger debates inlater years. Among these were maximumclass size (recommending a maximum of 40students for the lower grades in 1903), highersalaries, equal school funding (through aminimum county levy), and school lunches(1910). Politically, the organization gotinvolved by lobbying for legislation thatwould further their aim of a streamlined,free public education for all children inIdaho. Part of that effort involved a fightto separate the election of judges from theelection of school superintendents and toremove education from the partisan politicalprocess. The official organization did notbecome involved in political races but wasactive in the government, nonetheless. Thisearly period represented a growing awarenessof the organization’s solidarity with otherstate’s education organizations as well asthe National Education Association. Idahomembers attended the NEA’s conferencefor the first time in 1898 and continued tobe involved in the larger organization. Therelationship with the National EducationAssociation would become much tighter andmore significant as Idaho came to rely moreheavily on its national educational partners.By the mid-1920s, the ISTA had evolvedfrom its roots as a frontier organization ofloosely connected teachers and administratorsnumbering only 40 or 50 to a powerfulassociation of state-wide educators dedicatedto the welfare of children and teachersthroughout Idaho with membership numbersapproaching 3,000. The Association achievedan immense amount in these early years. Itimplemented an educational system that wascohesive across the state, ensuring that allchildren could expect to receive a relativelysimilar education regardless of their residentiallocation. It implemented an early set ofteacher training standards, so children couldbe assured of a consistently qualified teacherat the chalk board. And the Association beganthe effort to ensure teachers could be securein their employment with the state. Little didmembers know what challenges would facethem in the next 15 years.
20Schools Then and Now: Lowell Elementary, BoiseThe teacher’s role has remained consistent for many generations, but classroom needs havechanged dramatically over the years. Today, Idaho boasts many modern, state-of-the-art schoolbuildings. Some of the most up-to-date buildings are beautiful historic schools that have undergonerenovations. Reusing these solid community structures reminds citizens where we started and howfar we’ve come by honoring the buildings from which neighborhoods and communities have sprung.In the late 19th century, Idahoteachers occupied log cabins,tents, or other simple and rusticstructures where students gatheredfor instruction. Teachers in remotelocations had to serve not onlyas academic instructors, but aswood gatherers, janitors, anddisciplinarians.In the late 1920s, the IdahoJournal of Education publishedan article stating that “the oldboxcar type of [school] building,poorly situated, poorly lighted,and poorly ventilated is no longertolerated.” The IEA providedfloor plans for a modern school,complete with indoor plumbing and cloak rooms. According to the article, “An adequate schoolplant — sanitary, spacious, cheerful — built around the needs of the child and the school, preservesthe health of school children and helps to improve individual and community life and to insurea better race.” In the 1920s and 1930s, however, school districts abandoned many small, ruralschool houses when consolidation called for the construction of larger facilities for multi-communitystudent bodies. In some urban settings, many communities continually remodeled and updated theirneighborhood schools.Lowell Elementary in north Boise is one of those schoolsand represents changes to schools across the state. It haschanged significantly over its nearly 100-year history.Originally designed on the “unit plan” that allowedfor future expansion, Lowell was built in three stages.The first floor and basement were completed in 1913,1902, Lost River School1926, Lowell Elementary School
21followed by the second floor in 1917.The school initially housed only grades1-4, and back then, lunch period lasted90 minutes to allow students time to gohome to eat. By the mid-1920s, Lowellexpanded up to 8th grade, and a 1926addition on the north gave the schoolfour more classrooms, a second-flooroffice, and a basement auditorium. TheParent-Teacher Association started ahot lunch program in 1944, with tentables built by volunteer fathers. Withthe enrollment increase following WorldWar II, the school added playgroundequipment in 1946 and eight newclassrooms on the south side in 1947,as well as a library. The 1947 addition reflects the Art Deco style of the period.During the energy crisis of the 1970s, another remodel lowered Lowell’s ceilings, added fluorescentlighting, and installed smaller windows, all in an effort to conserve energy. In March 2006, votersapproved a bond levy providing for additional upgrades and renovations to several Boise schoolbuildings, including Lowell. In 2010, new heating and cooling systems and more energy and waterconservation upgrades were done. That same year, Lowell added a computer lab with internet-readySMART Boards and projectors.Over the years, the IEA has recognized Lowell forits outstanding volunteer efforts from families andstaff, and the U.S. Department of Education choseLowell Elementary in 1994 as a Blue Ribbon School.In the 2000-2001 school year, Lowell began itsEnglish Language Learners program, celebrating anew chapter in student body diversity. Still offeringgrades K-6, Lowell Elementary’s motto is “Educatingall students since 1913… For today and beyond.”Lowell stands as an example of the dozens of Idahoschool buildings that have not only endured formore than a century but have adapted to the ever-changing needs of Idaho students.o2011, Lowell Elementary School1939, Lowell Elementary School
22IEA and the NEA1898 Idaho teachers attend the National Education Association’s convention inWashington, D.C., for the first time.1920 The Idaho State Teachers Association (which changed its name to theIdaho Education Association in 1927) affiliates with the NEA.1947-48 IEA incorporates and unifies with the NEA.1968 NEA provides financial and staff assistance to the IEA’s efforts to imposesanctions on Idaho, declaring it unethical for out-of-state teachers to takejobs in Idaho.1970 IEA’s executive committee approves participation in the new NEA UniServprogram for hiring staff to work at the local level. Boise teacher JackWhite is employed as the first UniServ director in the country. IEA dubsthese staff members “region directors.”1970s Northwest Nazarene College student Mike Poe is elected Student NEAvice president.1970s Louise Jones, New Meadows, helps found the NEA Women’s Caucus andthe NEA Women’s Leadership Training program.Since1980Five IEA members receive NEA Human & Civil Rights Awards: FrancesPaisano, Lapwai — Leo Reano Award; Sonia Hunt, Nampa — George I.Sanchez Award; Pete Espinoza, Minidoka County — George I. SanchezAward; Grace Owens — Martin Luther King, Jr. Award; Sam Cikaitoga(posthumously), Fremont County — Ellison Onizuka Award. Also, anIEA-nominated human rights advocate, Tony Stewart from Coeur d’Alene,receives the H. Council Trenholm Memorial Award.1986 With NEA’s assistance, the IEA hires a full-time organizer for educationsupport professionals.1986 Sue Hovey, Moscow, is elected to one of the nine positions on the NEAExecutive Committee. She is re-elected in 1989 and serves the maximumtwo terms of three years each.1997 Dan Sakota, Rexburg, is elected to one of nine positions on the NEAExecutive Committee. He is re-elected in 2000 and serves the maximumtwo terms of three years each.1997 IEA implements the NEA’s KEYS (Keys to Excellence in Your Schools)program in several Idaho schools. The program continues and expandsover the next few years.2003 NEA bestows its national Educational Support Professional of theYear Award on Marty Meyer, a Coeur d’Alene custodian andAssociation activist.2008 Educator-astronaut Barbara Morgan, IEA member and former McCall-Donnelly teacher, receives NEA’s Friend of Education Award, theAssociation’s highest honor.
23NEA Public Schools: Fulfilling the American Dream: President Clinton at the National Education Association Regional Assembly1990s Memorabilia
24Battling for legitimacy andcredibility as an organization anda profession had occupied muchof the ISTA’s effort in the firstdecades of the 20th century. By1926, a great deal of work toward that endhad been accomplished. The Associationhired and named its first Executive Secretarythat year, John I. Hillman, and, in 1927,altered its constitution and re-brandeditself the Idaho Education Association. Theconstitutional changes provided for sevendistrict associations and the creation oflocal associations, with each local invited tosend representatives to the annual DelegateAssembly in proportion to its membershipin the IEA. The goal was to bring theAssociation to the teachers, who felt as1926-1940Chapter 2oThe 1920s were an exciting time for the Idaho State Teachers’ Association. gThe organization hired John I. Hillman as the first staff member and changed thename to reflect its broad mission for education throughout Idaho. g But just as theAssociation found its legs, the Depression hit with such economic force that theorganization needed a new focus: making sure that the state provided adequatefunding for education. g The Depression had an immense impact on education inIdaho. g There was a massive decline in educational funding, caused by numerousevents of the decade, not least of which were the extremely high rate of foreclosuresand the corresponding decline in property tax revenue. g The funding shortagescaused schools to close, leaving rural children, especially, with no place to attendschool. g The newly named Idaho Education Association took the state to task,working hard to secure a funding source and hold the state accountable for itsconstitutional mandate to establish and maintain free public schools. g The IEAalso worked very hard during this difficult time to make both the rural and urbaneducational systems attractive to the most qualified teachers. g This meant raisingteacher certification standards and making education in Idaho more efficient. gBy the time the United States entered World War II, the IEA had achieved a numberof critical successes for education in Idaho in spite of the difficult period that wasnow behind it.Fighting for Idaho’s Children During Tough Times
25though policy too often was created byadministrators who did not understand thechallenges of daily life in the classroom. Thechanges caused IEA membership to jumpfrom about 60% to as high as 97% of allIdaho teachers, provoking a later columnistin the Association’s newsletter to look backon this period and declare that “the teacherstook over.” In concert with the organization’s1927 name and organizational changes,the journal published by the ISTA as TheIdaho Teacher since 1919 was re-named theIdaho Journal of Education. Finally, 1927saw the Idaho Legislature adopt the ISTA’srecommended legislation requiring at leasttwo years of normal school education forelementary school teachers. Thus, by thelate 1920s the Idaho Education Association(IEA) had succeeded in establishing itselfas the leader in all educational issues withmembership in the 3,000-4,000 range.Having succeeded on many fronts, the IEAnevertheless recognized that as long as people’svision for education evolved and changed, theAssociation would always work on behalf ofIdaho’s children. The years between 1926 and1940 represented a critical period for childrenin Idaho. Faced with serious issues relatedto educational funding and the worldwideDepression, Idaho educators used the cloutthey gained during the Association’s formativeyears to battle for a reliable funding source.Misuse of endowment funds combined withDepression-related declines in county propertytaxes left educators and lawmakers scramblingfor a solution without the uncertainties andmonetary discrepancies between countiesas revenues from the property tax. Facinglawmakers who had never been asked toappropriate state money for education, the IEAled intense debates advocating an increased rolefor the state in education funding. The 1930sbecame a decisive period for establishing a statefunding mechanism and for protecting the stateendowment fund, as well as convincing stateleaders to view public education as a perpetualstate obligation, not just acting as a hero duringtough economic times. It was also a significantera for gains in equalization of educationacross and within counties, as well as improvedadministrative efficiencies.Not only did the Depression bring on afunding crisis, it also created a nationwidesurplus of teachers. In response to this growingproblem, the IEA continued to push the Stateof Idaho to improve its teacher standards inthe 1930s so as to discourage poorly-trained,out-of-work teachers from flooding the stateand bringing the level of Idaho’s educationdown. As part of its continued effort towardthe professionalization of education, the IEAaimed to give the State Board of Education full1927, IEA newslettercartoon on state educationsupport
26power over certification standards and urgedthe legislature to implement a salary schedulethat would attract the best and most highlyqualified teachers. Finally, the IEA continuedto wrestle with the best way to provide aneducation for all students when only 17%pursued a college education and the remainderof students went into agriculture and othervocational trades.The IEA emerged from the rocky 1930s aneven stronger organization with a wide base ofsupport, improved status and expectations foreducation, and friends in the statehouse whosupported its mission.The Depression and the Impacton Educational FundingThe Depression had severe consequences forIdaho children seeking education. The IEA’sbiggest struggle in the 1930s was protectingthe supposedly untouchable endowment fundand creating a reliable source of funding in theface of declining property tax revenues. Themajority of educational funding had alwayscome from county property taxes, creatingdisparate educational opportunities from countyto county, a situation magnified by the extremelyhigh number of farm (and other property)failures from the late 1920s through the 1930s.Funding had been an issue sinceIdaho became a state in 1890. The federalgovernment provided a land grant to Idaho,consisting of sections 16 and 36 in everytownship in the state. The total acreageamounted to approximately 3,000,000 acres,proceeds from which were to be used to fundpublic schooling. Some land exchanges wereapproved for remote and forested lands thatwere deemed useless for fundraising, and allmoney raised from the final inventory of landwas to be placed into the state’s endowmentfund, a permanent school fund. The IdahoConstitution permitted the fund to be usedfor loans on farm mortgages and certaintypes of bonds. Then, the accrued interestwas applied annually to the benefit of thecommon schools. That interest was neverenough to support annual school budgets,so the remaining demands were met throughcounty and local district taxes. At one time,state law required county commissioners topass a levy sufficient to raise $15 per pupil ofschool age, but any amount above that — upto a maximum set by law — was left up tothe voters. Additional monies approved byvoters above the minimum set by law could beused for necessities, such as a school wagonto transport children to school or othercapital equipment. Unfortunately, the specialtax limitations placed on districts preventedany desire or momentum by local schoolboards to raise salaries or provide more andimproved equipment for classrooms. Thus, in1920, State Superintendent Ethel E. Redfieldrequested the ISTA’s support for legislationthat would remove caps on the maximumspecial levy.1928, Teacher andstudents withhomemade globe
27Idaho’s Endowment FundThings got decidedly more complicated whenthe endowment fund came under attack.The story began in the fall of 1928,when Idaho voters were asked to vote for aconstitutional amendment (H.R. 10) whichwould expand the allowed uses for endowmentfunds. In addition to the ability to loan themoney on first mortgages for improved farmswithin the state, as well as on state, UnitedStates, or school district bonds — all ofwhich were provided for in the existing stateconstitution — the measure would increasepermitted uses to include county, city, and villagebonds. The IEA was gravely concerned that suchexpenditures would deplete endowment fundsand lead to an increase in taxes to make up thedifference. “Certainly we should vote against it,”the Journal urged, but the IEA also encouraged“every school man [to] see that his communityhas a clear understanding of the probleminvolved.” Despite these pleas, voters approvedthe amendment.Soon thereafter, in 1928, a routine annualaudit of Boise City’s Independent SchoolDistrict raised eyebrows about potentiallymissing income from state endowment funds,causing the district to investigate and questionstate leaders as to where the money mighthave gone. A few key documents divulgedthat concerns over state management of theendowment fund began ten years earlierduring Moses Alexander’s term as Idaho’sgovernor between 1915 and 1919. DuringAlexander’s term, an official report wasprovided to the governor and the legislaturedisclosing a $400,000 shortagein the endowment fund. Since noaction was taken on the concernsraised at that time, the State Boardof Education penned a letter to thesucceeding Governor, C.C. Moore,insisting on answers to questionsabout the fund. Still, there was noresolution and no record of the Board’s letterever reaching the legislature.Upon discovering the documents thatindicated the existence of a longstandingproblem, the Boise School Board contacted allof the Class A Independent School Districtsin the state and asked them to join in apreliminary audit of the endowment funds,with a view toward a full audit (at a cost of$75,000) of the fund back to statehood. TheIEA, outraged over the casual nature of thestate officials’ past responses to the problem,argued that it was “unlawful for even onecent ever to be taken from these funds forany purpose… If there has been any transfer,therefore, it has been done unlawfully, andthe money has been expended unlawfully.”Whether the state actually had lost money orit had been transferred to a different fund wasirrelevant to educators; money had been takenThe IEA argued that it was “unlawfulfor even one cent ever to be taken fromthese funds for any purpose… If there hasbeen any transfer, therefore, it has beendone unlawfully, and the money has beenexpended unlawfully.”1930, Principal and students at reading table
28from the educational budget, and“the payers of school taxes have hadtheir burden increased accordingly.If a known loss of $400,000 witha probable additional loss of from$100,000 to twice or three timesthat amount… does not warrant a$75,000 audit, then there has neverbeen warrant for the audit of anyaccount!”Over the next ten years, theIEA aimed to unveil exactly howthe endowment funds had beenmismanaged and fought for renewedresponsible management of themoney. The Idaho Constitution’sprovision for loans and bondsto be granted from the fund had laid thegroundwork for corruption and graft. TheIEA discovered that hundreds of thousands ofdollars from the endowment fund had beenraided for many unauthorized uses, includinguntraced transfers to the state’s generalfund and loans to state officials’ relatives.Additionally, the state had sold thousandsof endowment acres to corporations despitethe law’s limit of such sales to 320 acres. Thepotential for corruption had only increasedwith the passage of H.R. 10 in 1928. The IEAwas saddened and disgusted with the apparentmisdeeds by state officials charged withguarding the funds in trust, and it pledgedto find solutions. It was widely feared thatwithout legal protection and changes to thelaw, this key funding source for education inIdaho was in serious jeopardy.By bringing the issue to the public andrattling cages until the issues were resolved, theIEA and the Idaho School Trustees’ Associationtried to ensure a protected endowment fundfor Idaho’s children. In editorial after editorialin the late 1920s, the IEA took the legislatureto task for an inadequate appropriation forthe audit and demanded that the constitutionbe amended to repeal recent allowances forexpenditures on city and village bonds. TheAssociation also called for a repeal of theFarm Mortgage Fund and recommended thata study be made on “the farm loan problem.”If the farm loans were to continue with thesefunds, the Association argued, there had to bedrastic reforms in loan procedures, for whilethe state constitution allowed such loans, theyhad historically resulted in losses to the fund.Furthermore, the IEA came out against the lawthat allowed for the sale (at less than $10 peracre) of lands obtained by foreclosure. Shockedby the blatant dishonesty of state officials, theIEA deployed a great deal of rhetoric in thefight. They referenced Diogenes and his searchfor an honest man with a lantern in broaddaylight and pointed to the folly of providingcharacter education in the schools while “theattitude of the people toward this heritage is indoubt.” Still, the pleas fell on deaf ears.1930, Students in line forhealth inspections1930, Teachers working in the community
29When the stock market crashed in 1929and the country plummeted into a headlongfinancial depression that lasted for a decade,the implications of Idaho’s farm loan provisionwere more readily apparent. By the early1930s, the IEA estimated that permanenteducation funds were losing between $90,000and $100,000 annually from farm loans, andthat as much as 40% of the monetary value ofthe farm loans was nonproducing because offoreclosure or a failure to pay either interestor principal. The mismanagement of educationfunds was a subject in the 1932 gubernatorialcampaign, when both Republican andDemocratic candidates offered opinionsabout the debacle in their paid politicaladvertisements. That year, the Democrat,Ben Ross, won.In the meantime, long-term changes werein the works. Trustees from the Boise SchoolDistrict had filed a lawsuit against the stateof Idaho to force a return of endowmentfund money taken for the Farm MortgageFund. While the lawsuit was making its waythrough the courts, the IEA’s new EndowmentCommittee came up with a variety ofrecommendations for reform. The first wasan effort to better control who served on theState Board of Land Commissioners. TheIEA hoped for a more permanent body andpersonnel and, toward that end, suggested thatthe Idaho Supreme Court appoint membersfor lengthy terms and include a justice fromthe Supreme Court as well as a member fromthe State Board of Education. The Associationurged the legislature to grant the Land Boardcomplete control of the endowment fundsand to require that body to provide an annualreport of endowment transactions to thelegislature. Furthermore, the organizationadvocated discontinuing investments thathad resulted in losses and called for a repealof laws that diverted principal or income ofendowment funds for non-educational use.Despite the disclosure of the abuse ofthe permanent school fund, the laws didnot change until the end of the 1930s. TheIdaho Supreme Court did rule in 1934 thatamendments to the constitution providingfor endowment funds to be invested in statewarrants and school district bonds wereunconstitutional, but by 1937, the IdahoLegislature had done very little to stop themisuse and “rape” of endowment money inthe law. To the pleasure of the IEA, individualsserving on the Land Board made greatstrides toward discontinuing the old policy1930, Napping children in school1930, Feeding children during the Depression, snacking at school“Equality of educational opportunity isthe birthright of every American child.”— IEA Journal, 1927
30of investing money in patently unsafe ways,but the laws prohibiting such investmentshad not changed dramatically. Therefore, theIEA maintained its long list of objectives toaccomplish at the statehouse, but ultimatelyit was left to depend on the goodwill of thoseserving on the State Land Board for most ofthe 1930s. As the decade progressed, otherfinancial issues floated to the top of the IEA’sheap of battles, and the organization began toflank the funding issue from another angle.State Funding for Educationand EqualizationEven before the Depression hit, the IEArecognized and struggled with the fact that theState of Idaho did not provide a single bit offunding to educate Idaho’s children, despite thestate’s constitutional mandate for the legislatureto “establish and maintain a general, uniform,and thorough system of public, free commonschools.” As self-appointed visionary andwatchdog for the state’s schoolchildren, theAssociation faced the issue head-on and arguedthat the state was shirking its responsibility toeducate its citizens.By leaving the majority of fundingup to the counties and offering no statecontribution, the state had allowed vastinconsistencies in educational opportunitiesbetween counties.The disparity between rich and poorchildren and their differing access to a qualityeducation grew over time. In 1927, the IEAproclaimed in its Journal that “Equality ofeducational opportunity is the birthright ofevery American child.” Idaho’s sole relianceon the endowment fund and property taxes,in conjunction with its poor method offederal fund distribution and the state law’sdiscrepancy between the levy allowed forcommon versus independent school districts,made the counties unable to provide equaleducation either within their counties oracross the many counties in the state. Alldistricts utilized the mill formula for levies,in which a mill represented 1/1000 of acurrency unit — in this case, the United Statesdollar. Common school districts, typicallyfound in rural areas where students of manyages were taught by a single teacher, werepermitted to levy only up to 10 mills onproperty values, but independent districts,usually found in wealthier urban areas, wereallowed a 30-mill levy. Yet the Association’sresearch team found that many courts hadruled in favor of educational uniformity inpublic schools. Therefore, the IEA concludedthat state intervention was needed, because“the rich sections tax themselves… lightlyto provide very good schools, while thepoor ones tax themselves very heavily andstill do not provide satisfactory educationalopportunities.” The IEA ran myriad articlesover the next few years showing calculationsand disparities of tax amounts, and pleadingwith voters that “the school tax situationdemands careful study and analysis andscientific adjustment, which only selfishThe IEA’s first success on behalf of statefunding came in 1933, when the IdahoLegislature passed House Bill 157, Idaho’sfirst official education equalization act.a. 1932, Coeur d’Alene primary student with crepepaper dress she designed and made as one of theprojects in Ms. Bayne’s classb. 1933, Hailey harmonica band fromHailey Central School, music educationc. 1934, Play day at Albion Normal Schoold. 1930, Primary school projects in Coeur d’Alene.Practical art and number work were achieved bythis methode. 1939, Home economics for boysf. 1939, One horse power school bus, rural district
32and unpatriotic interests can oppose.” TheAssociation found that other states providedappropriate annual funds for public schools,while Idaho provided no revenue source forthe elementary schools, and merely matchedfederal funds for vocational work in highschools to the tune of less than one percent(1%). Idaho was, according to the IEA,dodging its duty to educate its citizens.The Depression highlighted the fundingproblem more than ever. Discrepancies grewin the face of failing properties and increasingforeclosures, resulting in lower funding fromproperty taxes. Rural schools were forced toclose because there was no money for teachersor maintenance of properties. As the problemcompounded, the IEA advocated two relatedpolicy changes. First, the organization pushedfor a state funding mechanism that was nottied to property taxes. Second, the IEA urgedthat any appropriated state money be used forequalizing education across the counties.Using its newsletter, the Idaho Journalof Education, the IEA forcefully put forthits ideas. First it pointed out that while itappeared that mines, lumber, and publicutilities bore the biggest burden of schoolfunding, in fact it was “the average propertyowner pay[ing] the far greater part of thetaxes — the farmer, the stockraiser, theaverage businessman, the home owner in thecity.” It was time, said the IEA, for the stateto take the burden off the property owner.In 1930, the organization’s new EqualizationTax Committee noted that “cheapness doesnot make for excellency” and recommendedraising new sources of state revenue. Ideas thatwere floated included a graduated income andinheritance tax, or luxury and natural resourcetaxes. Association President John W. Condiesuggested diverting a share of the discoveryand development of the state’s naturalresources to education.The IEA’s first success on behalf of statefunding came in 1933, when the IdahoLegislature passed House Bill 157, Idaho’s firstofficial education equalization act. Havingexperienced the closure of multiple ruralschools due to a lack of funds in 1932-1933,the state finally was motivated to help. Thenew law required each district to levy anadditional minimum of 3 mills and pledgedstate money to make up the difference untileach classroom unit had a budget of $800.In years when state funds were unavailable,the Education Board was given authority toapportion the percentage of available money.The IEA was happy with the legislation fortwo reasons. First, the Idaho law guaranteeda minimum financial program, while similarlaws in other states were conditional. Second,the county levy was flexible, making it possibleto reduce county property tax by substitutingstate revenue when available. However,the IEA did see flaws in the legislation. Aneditorial argued that the law would not benefitwealthy counties or classroom units, but thatthe law provided “a very fine foundation” forthe distribution of state funds. In practice, thelaw worked well from the start. Before thelaw’s passage, at least 30 schools had closeddue to lack of funds. But during the two yearsafter the law’s passage, none were forced toshut down. For some of the poorest schools,the law had cut the property tax levy in halfand was credited with saving education inthese counties.“Organization of education for efficiency,with equalization of opportunity is theunderlying principle — a square deal forevery underprivileged child.”— IEA President John W. Condie, 1931
33However, the IEA viewed the state’smeager initial appropriation and a lack ofsecure and permanent funding as a challengeto lobby for a reliable funding source. Anincredible 91.6% of the state’s school revenuewas still generated by property taxes, and itwas predicted that if the state would approve$2.5 million in permanent funding, countylevies could be reduced even further. The factremained that “the wealth per classroomunit… of the richest county is 320 per centof that of the poorest.” Therefore, the IEAadvocated raising the $2.5 million by passingsome of the tax options mentioned above andby moving toward greater equalization and amore even distribution of funds.As the struggle to obtain permanentfunds went forward, the IEA researched andled debates over the best way to raise themoney. The Association discussed annualappropriations from the General Fund (seenas subject to the whims of the legislature andtherefore unreliable), earmarked dollars, andmoney from specific taxes. As a result, thestate experimented with many taxes duringthe 1930s, including the first sales tax passedin 1935 at a rate of 2% on retail purchases(repealed by voters shortly thereafter), a taxon mines, and another one on alcohol. Thealcohol tax that passed in the 1930s beganan income stream for schools that has lastedfor close to 80 years. But the voters’ repealof the sales tax led the IEA to conclude thatthe state had not lived up to the promise ofthe equalization mandate. The organizationsettled upon reviving the sales tax law asthe best method to provide income forequalization among the schools and lobbiedhard for it as the chosen method to completethe equalization program.Rural Schools: Consolidationand Teacher TrainingFunding was not the only issue affecting theefficacy of rural schools. The Depression eraalso unveiled the degree to which rural schoolchildren were underprivileged when it cameto qualified and experienced teachers as wellas a consistent educational program. At theend of the 1920s, statistics on Idaho publicschools showed just how serious the ruralschool problem was, with Idaho possessing 70four-room schools, 62 three-room schools, 198two-room schools, and a truly overwhelming820 one-room schools. Data also showedthat at the state level, Idaho provided littlesupervision over these rural schools, so therewas great inconsistency between these schoolsand their teachers compared with those in moreurban settings. For instance, the Idaho StateBoard of Education found that 90% of teachersin rural schools met only minimum certificationrequirements of nine weeks of training. Those1939, Teacher andstudents reading
34same schools also employed 83% of teacherswith only one year of training. Therefore, itwas clear that children in those schools were ata distinct disadvantage. Of course, more basicproblems existed as well, such as poor heatingand no libraries. The IEA set out to fix thesewide-ranging problems.At the crux of the rural school issuewas lack of organization and inefficiencies,which caused fiscal problems. In 1927, Idahohad 1,400 individual districts, which in turnmeant 1,400 boards of education and 4,800board members. Of these districts, almost halfprovided only seven months instead of ninemonths of schooling annually. In addition tothose staggering and worrisome numbers, Idahoemployed 4,400 teachers and served 120,000pupils. Many of these pupils were educated inone-room schools where there were often fewerthan 20 students. This was a highly inefficientway to spend precious funds, since a teacher’ssalary was the same whether he or she taught 10students or 40. Consolidation of students intofewer schools, as in a city system, would reducesalary costs by more than half. Consolidationwould have other benefits, as well, and solve themost grievous of rural school problems whilemaking the overall system less cumbersome andcostly. The IEA created a Rural OrganizationCommittee to study and report on the issue.By 1929, some rural school problemswere waning. To begin with, the change inteacher training requirements had gone intoeffect, requiring at least two years of schoolingfor all teachers. The number of rural schoolsupervisors had doubled, as well. But the costsfor educating rural children were still twicethat of urban children, and rural teachersstill departed sooner than city teachers. IEAPresident John W. Condie addressed theDelegate Assembly at the end of 1930 stating,with all due respect to the nation’s educationalroots in the “little red schoolhouse,” the timehad come for larger, more organized schoolsystems. One-teacher schools cost $13.09 permonth, two-teacher schools cost $11.35 permonth, but the cost of a nine-teacher schoolwas only $6.61 per month. Tiny, rural schoolswere costly, while merged, larger schoolswere better for communities, students, andthe economy. The situation, said Condie,called for drastic reorganizational measures.The newly formed IEA Committee on RuralOrganization called for the cooperation of theIdaho School Trustees’ Association, the countysuperintendents, and the Idaho Grange to helpwith rural school reform.In 1933, the legislature passed aconsolidation bill, permitting three differentmethods for district and temporary schoolconsolidations. With authority granted butdetailed plans still lacking, the IEA’s RuralOrganization Committee recommended asurvey that would determine consolidationpossibilities, institute an adequate plan ofrural supervision, and provide standardrequirements for rural school grounds/buildings. By this time, the NationalEducation Association was also heavilyinvested in rural school issues, havingconvened a national conference on theissue and supporting federal funding forrural school development. After Idahopassed the consolidation law, moreconsolidations occurred than during theprevious decade, lowering the cost perpupil, creating better schools for ruralstudents, and better distributing availableresources. As consolidation began to occur,providing transportation for these far-flungstudents presented a new and unanticipatedchallenge, but it was minor compared withthe challenge schools had just overcome.
35Rural children continued to sufferunder less experienced teachers whooften departed after a few short years.The IEA continued to push for higherlevels of training throughout the 1930s tocounter the trend and constantly asked thelegislature to grant authority to the StateBoard of Education to establish certificationrules related to teaching so as to provideconsistency and rigor. The Associationadvocated an additional year of training forelementary school teachers, higher standardsfor principals and superintendents, collegedegrees for high school teachers, andthe elimination of overlapping trainingprograms between the universities andthe normal schools. Eventually, theserequirements would come to pass thanks tothe persistence of the IEA, and rural childrenwould be afforded the same opportunities asthose in more populated areas.ConclusionThe IEA made some organizational changestoward the end of the 1930s and altered the duesschedule to raise additional money to handlethe growing organization. Toward the end ofthe 1930s, some major progress was made onthe issues of the decade. In 1939, voters passedadditional equalization laws as well as anamendment to the Idaho Constitution requiringthe safe investment of endowment funds. Thelegislature also approved a law that removedfarm loans from the list of legal investments forendowment funds, a law that voters solidifiedthrough another constitutional amendment in1940. The IEA moved into the 1940s with agoal of passing a new sales tax and spreading theresponsibility for education funding among thewhole population of Idaho, not just the propertyholders.The IEA also initiated discussion in the1930s about other issues that would becomemore significant to the profession duringthe following 20 years. Although increasedsalaries were not a particularly populartopic during the Depression, some advanceswere made in the late 1930s to bringteacher salaries up to ameaningful level. TheIEA’s Salary ScheduleCommittee urged asingle salary schedule inall school districts andrecommended the studyof a minimum salarylaw. Additionally, thefirst discussion of alonger “tenure” forteachers occurredduring this era, and in1939, the IEA’s TeacherRetirement Committeerecommended anintensive study ofretirement optionsover the next year anda more prominent place on the legislativeagenda. These issues came to dominate thedebate over education in Idaho during the1940s and 1950s, as World War II imposedan entirely new set of circumstances on theeducational system.1937, Proposed salary schedule designed to keep teachers in Idaho
36As World War II imposed chaoson domestic life in the UnitedStates, Idaho’s educationalsystem suffered. After adecade in which many teachersfound themselves unemployed or severelyunderpaid, they suddenly had ample jobsand many alternative opportunities. The IEAdiscovered that Idaho’s teachers were leavingthe state in droves for brighter horizonselsewhere, either in the form of teachingjobs in neighboring states or war-relatedmanufacturing jobs, which paid significantlyhigher wages. As these challenges becameevident, the IEA’s revised mission was clear:keep good teachers in Idaho!The IEA spent the 1940s concentratingits efforts on maintaining a quality teachingforce in Idaho. The organization realized thatto take care of Idaho’s children, it had to focus1940-1963Chapter 3oWith the onset of World War II, Idaho went from having a glut of teachers and aserious funding problem to being a state with a teacher shortage and a loud cryfor increased salaries. g Wartime mobility, the sudden availability of high-payingwar-related jobs, and the subsequent postwar baby boom caused major teachershortages across Idaho. g The state handed out emergency permits to barelyqualified people who were willing to take on a classroom during the nationalemergency, and schools drastically cut back on class offerings. g The shortageof teachers led the IEA to lobby for a great number of reforms, including thecreation of a retirement system, minimum salaries, continuing contracts, improvedcertification requirements, and even further consolidation of school districts. gThe work of the IEA during this period led to the organization’s growing recognitionthat it could not remain outside of politics, since so many of these changes werecreated as law at the statehouse. g As part of this evolution, the IEA made changeswithin its own structure in order to affect a better relationship with the NationalEducation Association and to involve its own membership. g By the time the 1960srolled around, the IEA was clear on its modern mission and what it needed to dofor Idaho’s educational system. g And it was organizationally prepared for thepolitical fights that were to come.Keep the Teachers Here!
37 Teacher and student at brick school, rural district
38on Idaho’s teachers. In the words of one IEAPresident, “Child welfare and teacher welfare[are] inseparably connected.” During a timewhen the country’s standard of living wasincreasing rapidly and teachers departed foralternative professional options that wouldprovide a better living, the children sufferedbecause of the resulting poor education.“We cannot be sincerely concerned with theinterests of boys and girls in this state,” hecontinued, “and at the same time minimizethe importance of those factors which helpto secure and retain the services of better-qualified teachers.” The IEA helped legislatorsrealize it was up to themto entice teachers toremain in Idaho. Withthe IEA leading the way,lawmakers focused firston salary and retirementlegislation.At the start of thedecade, Idaho’s schooldistricts had limitedoptions for raising theirteachers’ salaries. Therewere no state moniesprovided, and thelegislature had, manyyears before, cappedlevies that counties andschool districts couldimpose. Furthermore,state law prohibiteddistricts from incurringdebt beyond 95% ofanticipated revenues. Withoutchanges in the state law, raisingsalaries would be nearly impossiblefor individual districts. At a 1944special session, the legislatureenacted two measures meantto help with the low salariesand teacher shortage in Idaho.One measure provided countycommissioners the ability to levy an additionaltax to raise teacher salaries and, if necessary,ask the state for additional assistance. The otherprovided for a state appropriation of up to$100,000 to aid needy districts. But the actionsof the 1944 Legislature may have been toolittle, too late, since it was discovered that manyteachers had already departed for better payingjobs elsewhere.By the following year, lawmakers tookfurther steps to make teaching in Idahomore attractive. The newly created IdahoEducation Council (of which the IEA was apart) together with the governor-appointedEducation Committee prepared a plan tocomplete Idaho’s equalization program. TheCouncil recommended the state appropriatea per-classroom budget minimum of $135per month for elementary units and $175per month for high school, along with aminimum transportation program of $2 perstudent per month for students transportedmore than two miles. The proposalalso included an increase in district andcounty levy limits and a minimum teachersalary set at $133 per month. Finally,the recommendation included maximumclassroom sizes of 30 for larger elementaryschools and 22 for one-room schools, withhigh school maximums set at 23 pupils and8 pupils respectively for larger schools andone-teacher high schools. Not all of theserecommendations were passed into law.However, the legislature did increase theallowable levy amount, raised the state’s“We cannot be sincerely concerned with theinterests of boys and girls in this state,” hecontinued, “and at the same time minimizethe importance of those factors which helpto secure and retain the services of better-qualified teachers.”1944, Wrigley’s gum advertisement,Idaho Education Association newsletter
39“Don’t walk out on the school childrenof Idaho by leaving the profession or bydeserting to another state with a betterprogram… Stay with us and make the fight.Idaho’s children are entitled to the sameeducational heritage as the children ofother states. Stand by them. Roll up yoursleeves and battle for the cause. Your ownwelfare is an important factor; you need nothesitate to enlist in the fight for that, also.”— IEA President Howard Andrews, 1945minimum program by 30%, and providedassistance to all districts that requestedextra money to fund increased salaries. Asubsequent study of median annual salariesshowed improvement ($200 higher thanthe previous year), with high school teachersalaries inching closer to other states.Although elementary salaries were still onthe low side, the IEA nonetheless concludedthat “the future for education in Idaho looksmuch brighter.”Little did they know that 4,200 Idahoteachers already had left the profession duringthe war for higher salaries, job security inthe form of a fair workplace, and “old-agesecurity.” By 1945, Idaho remained one ofonly a handful of states that had not enactedretirement legislation for teachers. And themeager salary increases provided by the stateand districts had not even approached thecost-of-living increases during the war. TheIEA found that the cost of living during WorldWar I had risen 108%, and that World War IIhad resulted in an increase of another 31%.So many people left the profession that byDecember 1944 there were 539 emergencyteachers working in the state, and 978 bythe end of the school year in June 1945. Bythe end of the following school year, thenumber had jumped to 1,200. The emergencycertificates were granted to virtually anyone,leaving many students with inexperienced,untrained teachers.The IEA nevertheless implored careerteachers to stick it out. In the words of IEAPresident Howard Andrews: “Don’t walk outon the school children of Idaho by leaving theprofession or by deserting to another statewith a better program… Stay with us andmake the fight. Idaho’s children are entitled tothe same educational heritage as the childrenof other states. Stand by them. Roll up yoursleeves and battle for the cause. Your ownwelfare is an important factor; you need nothesitate to enlist in the fight for that, also.”Despite the fear of losing teachers, HelenMoore, president of the IEA’s classroomteacher group, wrote a column in which sheexpressed sympathy for the teacher whochose to leave the classroom for farming orany other profession, while she also madesome pointed comments to policymakers. Ina comparison of jobs, she showed that theaverage yearly income for Idaho farm workersin 1945-46 was $2,068, while elementaryschool teachers averaged only $1,534. Afrustrated Moore explained: “The person whodoes not wish to feed hogs can do better inany other profession than at teaching.” Coalmining would provide an annual salary of$2,996; bus driving $2,465; and telephoneoperation $2,126. Moore suggested that Idahoundergo a complete survey of education in thestate and come up with a plan to address thesediscrepancies and keep our best teachers here.The IEA lobbied the legislature hard fora retirement program that would persuadeteachers to stay. Although the IEA proposeda program to the 1939 legislative session,the 1940 session, the 1941 session, andeach year following, the lawmakers did notmake it a priority and could not agree onits provisions until 1946. When the teachershortage emergency became clear at the endof 1945, the state’s leaders were finally readyto act. By then, 47 states and the Territoryof Hawaii had implemented retirementprograms for their teachers, but Idaho still had
40“In view of the fact that Idaho is the onlystate in the Union that has not protectedits teachers with a retirement law, it isquite clear that no research is necessary todetermine that the state must take action.”— Idaho School Survey Commission, 1945not. The Idaho School Survey Commission,appointed in 1945, considered the problemand prepared new legislation, and someopined that “in view of the fact that Idahois the only state in the Union that has notprotected its teachers with a retirement law,it is quite clear that no research is necessaryto determine that the state must take action.”The IEA approved hiring an actuary to outlinea sound retirement plan, and IEA ExecutiveSecretary John Hillman stressed, “One hardfact should be emphasized. A retirementprogram is compensation for service rendered,not charity.” Retirement allowances werebased on pay, he explained, and the basicprinciple of retirement plans had been firmlyestablished by industrial programs, otherstates’ teacher retirement laws, and theFederal Social Security Program. The 1945proposal suggested a minimum retirementage of 60 (with compulsory retirement at 70)and provided benefits, administration, fundmanagement, guaranty, fraud protection,and membership limitations. However, therewas a question as to who would pay for theprogram, with some citizens suggesting aprogram fully funded by the teachers. The IEAwarned that “an attempt is already underwayto shift the entire cost of the public’s shareof the program to the individual schooldistricts, for school district employees. Thiswould require ten times as heavy a tax inthe poorer districts, for a program that is theresponsibility in equal measure of all taxpayersalike.” The IEA firmly believed that the stateshould share in the cost of such a program.In February 1946, Governor ArnoldWilliams called the 28th Legislature intoExtraordinary Session. It was an off yearfor the biennial legislature, but the reasonsfor Williams’ decision were threefold, withthe third pertaining to the critical shortageof teachers in Idaho. To address teacherretention, the legislators produced and passedHouse Bill No. 10, which finally createda teachers’ retirement system for Idaho. Itwas a voluntary system, however, and only2,000 of the approximately 4,500 eligibleteachers had enrolled in the program by thatfall. Lawmakers and educators tweaked theprogram a bit the following year. Althoughefforts to include custodial and clericaleducation workers in the Idaho Teachers’Retirement System failed, other improvementswere made. The first was to exempt retirementallowances from Idaho income tax; another1956, Chart showing enrollment growth in thewake of the postwar baby boom, Idaho EducationAssociation newsletter