Brad Little currently serves as Idaho’s lieutenant governor. Before his appointment to fill Senator Jim Risch’s seat after Risch resigned to become a U.S. Senator, Little served in the Idaho Senate. He spoke with Neal Larson and Julie Mason on KID Newsradio about his bid for Idaho’s top seat and what he plans to do for Idaho’s education if elected.
You can listen to the full interview below.
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Idaho gubernatorial candidate, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, outlined his plan for education on Tuesday, February 20, if elected to Idaho’s top seat.
“It’s a plan that ties on to what’s been agreed to by the task force,” Lt. Gov. Brad Little, a candiate for Idaho governor told KID Newsradio. “It really focuses on, probably the essential. Obviously literacy, getting our kids reading proficiently into the third grade. We’re making progress there. We’ve got a new assessment, there’s a lot of excitement in the school districts where they’re using this a a prototype.”
In addition to literacy, Little says his plan also emphasizes the need for career technical training. Up until 2017, Idaho’s career techinical schools were represented by school’s like Eastern Idaho Techinical College. With fewer exclsuive career techinical schools, Little says it’s time to transition some of the funding from career techinical centers and implement those programs in different schools and grades.
“One of the things I see as I travel, in that way…it’s desire for skills, career techincal help,” Little said. “Some of that’s done in career technical centers…some of that needs to be mixed across the college level, the high school level, even the junior high level. So, I’m asking that the state board kind of gray those lines, maybe take some of the money from those other programs and implement them in the other ones, so that we’re training these kids, giving them the right education, whether it be language arts or math, to where they’re more inclined to go into those career technical fields.”
Using that system of “resource sharing,” between districts and educational institutions
“We’ve had many efforts in Idaho, for a long time, to consolidate districts,” Little said. “If you go back, at one time, Idaho had a thousand districts, now we have 115 public school districts, 50 or 60 charter districts, but what we need to do is share the back room, the payroll, the technology, there’s some distircts where they share career techinical, they share special education.”
Little acknowledged some of thes programs can be expensive and implementing programs at such a cost isn’t an option for smaller or more rural districts. But, in combing or sharing resources, Little says more money opens up for paying educators and bettering classrooms. The debate surrounding Common Core is one such issue in the classroom parents continuously weigh in on. Little said about 30,000 parents have given reccomendations about education standards and also said the state needs to be careful how often drastic educational decisions are made.
“The one thing that doesn’t work in education is going back and forth,” Little said. “That process of having all those parents involved in it, there’s a pretty good consensus in a lot of Idaho that that’s the right thing to do and it is not beneficial to our kids, particularly the kids that are in the school system right now, to have radical changes that aren’t positive because those investments that we make in education, what we do to a thid grader affects fourth and fifth graders and that’s been a part of our problem in Idaho, is radical changes going back and forth and not a steady, agreed upon direction, particularly at the local level.”
Little said he’s confident the curent Idaho educational standards are widely accepted by parents with the current presidential administration, particularly at the federal education level, will not push top-down educational policies like in years past.