The issue of school choice is becoming a hot national topic. Shouldn’t it also be a topic Idaho is addressing from this day forward?

The subject of school choice is like a snowball on the side of an Idaho mountaintop. It’s starting to roll, and it’s only going to get bigger and bigger.

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to make a push for school choice, and his nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is a longtime advocate of school choice and voucher programs.

So the Idaho Legislature will be discussing this important topic in 2017, right?

Not so fast.

Not if Rep. Julie VanOrden, a state representative from Pingree, gets her way. VanOrden is on the school funding formula committee, which is expected to work on the issue of school funding through 2017 and then make recommendations to the Legislature in 2018.

VanOrden recently said in an Idaho Education News article she wanted to put the issue on hold “so we have a better idea of where we stand financially. There are lots of pieces in school choice areas where I would like to wait and see what the funding committee comes up with.”

Yes, VanOrden and her committee deserve time to do their job. But isn’t this too important to be completely shelved until 2018?

Shouldn’t the Legislature be actively discussing how Idaho is going to tackle this timely issue sooner rather than later?

Article cited:

Idaho Education News: Will choice bills gain traction at the Statehouse?