Is it too late for a state to dream big? If everything goes to plan this legislative session, Idaho will make a significant achievement: 2009!

Whoot, whoot!

During his State of the State address Monday, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter called for an increase in per-classroom funding. It’s an ambitious proposal. However, if passed, those funding levels will only be the same as they were in 2009.

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Remember 2009?

  • Miley Cyrus was still Hannah Montana
  • Blockbuster was still in business
  • Michael Jackson was still alive
  • Jon and Kate Gosselin were still married
  • Sarah Palin was still Alaska’s governor

What price have Idaho’s students paid?

  • Only 77 percent of high school students graduate on time (ninth worst in the nation)
  • Only 52 percent of high school graduates go on to college (that number is dropping)
  • Idaho received a D-plus for K-12 education from Education Weekly (48th out of 50 states and D.C.)
  • Idaho’s 2015 SAT math scores dropped a whopping 10 points from 2014 (drops in 14 of 15 largest school districts)
  • Idaho student’s average SAT score is 147 points below a college-ready score
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State of the art…in 2009

It’s fantastic that Otter wants to invest in education. However, the massive cuts to public education during the Great Recession make his proposals less generous than they sound. In fact, the effect of inflation and an influx of new students (Idaho’s one of the fastest growing states in the U.S.) means Otter’s proposal actually leaves per-classroom funding below 2009 levels.

What’s the collateral damage?

Should we party like it’s 2009?

Sure. Go for it. Why not. If Otter’s budget is passed, Idaho could reach an incredible milestone — 2009, here we come.

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