Idaho ranks last in per-student funding, trails in educational rankings, national report shows

BOISE, Idaho — A new report from the National Education Association (NEA) has ranked Idaho dead last in per-student funding and 39th in teacher salaries.

The NEA Rankings and Estimates report was released Monday and has Idaho ranked 51st—including all 50 states and the District of Columbia—for per-student funding. According to the national rankings, Idaho invested $7,705 per student in the 2019–2020 school year, one of only three states to decrease from the 2018–2019 school year, alongside Alabama and Maryland.

Idaho, on average, also invested roughly $601 less per student than the next lowest state, Utah.

“The Idaho legislature’s lack of support for public education continues to be a national embarrassment,” said Idaho Education Association (IEA) President, Layne McInelly. “While our legislature is focused on unnecessary tax cuts, private school vouchers, and kangaroo court task forces on ‘indoctrination,’ the real problems facing Idaho public, including dramatic shortages in resources and personnel, remain unaddressed.”

In regards to personnel, IEA notes that Idaho is ranked 39th in average teacher salaries, which they say makes it difficult for schools to hire and keep teachers. In comparison, Washington is ranked 6th nationwide for average teacher salaries.

“While Idaho has made some headway in raw compensation to our dedicated professional educators, surrounding states have also increased pay, so the relative increase is negligible,” said McInelly. “Our legislature must do more to help local school districts retain their veteran teachers and attract early career educators.”

While Idaho trails in those metrics, IEA notes the state leads most of the country in a different metric: class sizes. According to the NEA report, Idaho ranks 6th in average number of students enrolled per teacher, meaning more students in classes, and IEA suggests leads to less individualized teaching for students.

You can read the full report, as well as rankings for previous years, on the NEA website.

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