First, here is what I had to say to him, as well as the other members of the Senate State Affairs Committee following the disappointing vote Friday morning:
To the Honorable Members of the State Affairs Committee:
Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend a Rally for Higher Education at Idaho State University. Our message fell on deaf ears last semester at a similar rally and again, fell on deaf ears Wednesday. It continues to fall on deaf ears today as I have learned that the Senate State Affairs Committee has defeated a bill proposing a student (non-voting member) be allowed to sit on the State Board of Education.
Personally, I would like to ask the senators who voted against this bill where you went to school? I received my entire public education right here in Idaho schools. I attended school in both Bannock and Cassia County, having spent considerable time at Marsh Valley and graduating from Declo High School. If truly the issue the committee has with S1406 is the fact that the State Board represents K-12 as well, I would remind you that each student who would even apply for the position on the State Board attended K-12, most of whom attended Idaho schools, and have continued their education here in Idaho. College students understand the plight of K-12 just as much as they understand the need for higher ed funding. At the rally Wednesday, former Congressman Richard Stallings said something that I didn't want to believe, but am beginning to believe after the committee's decision today, he said that as students we are not a particularly important issue to politicians in Boise.
Please remember that we are not just students, we are the future leaders of this great state.
Tara A. Rowe
Senator, Associated Students of Idaho State University
And of course, the only response I got had to be from the highest ranking Republican in the State Senate and he just had to treat me like an average college kid:
Actually, as a member of the State Affairs committee, I was unable to attend the committee meeting because of a conflict. To be honest, however, if I could have been there, I would have voted against the bill. Let me tell you why.
First, Richard Stallings is partisan (Chair of State Democrat Party), and this is an election year. He will say and do about anything to get his people elected. It is politics, and I understand that. His statements, however, are just flat wrong.
Second, since my father was chairman of the Idaho State Board of Education, student input has increased significantly. Today students enjoy more input than ever. Students can significantly impact the process in many ways, and they do. They need to continue to engage.
Third, as an executive committee, the SBOE is limited in the types of matters that are discussed. As an attorney that represents one of the higher education institutions, I have made presentations involving litigation to the SBOE. In my judgment, any non-voting members should not attend.
Finally, dismissing the K-12 argument doesn't make it any less valuable. If the Governor wants to appoint a student as a SBOE member, he/she can do so now.
Now to answer your question--where did I go to school? Well, I graduated from Idaho Falls High School, having attended all 12 years of school in that school district. By the way, my wife graduated from Skyline High School in Idaho Falls too. As a matter of fact, so did five of our six children and all three of our children-in-law. (We still have an eighth grade daughter at home, who will likely graduate from Skyline like her siblings.) My wife and I have degrees from BYU, and then I have a law
degree from the University of Idaho. My wife has done graduate work at both BYU and ISU. Between my children and their spouses, we have degrees from BYU-I, ISU, BSU, and U of I. (That doesn't count my mother's master and doctorate from ISU.) If you would like I can also outline adjunct faculty positions held at Idaho's universities.
The point I make, somewhat sharply, by this email is that we shouldn't jump to conclusions. Particularly when ginned up by someone that is partisan in their statements. Likewise, SBOE needs input, then a rational analysis of difficult choices. Students can and should participate in that process.
Bart M. Davis
Idaho Senate Majority Leader
There are a couple things about the email from Senator Davis that I find particularly amusing. First, he wasn't even there to vote! Second, Richard Stallings shows up when we have rallies for higher education. He's more than happy to speak. He accepts our invitation. When Senator Davis wants to come down to Idaho State University and sit in a room full of students, then I'd more than welcome any criticism he has of Stallings' comments. Third, no one blasts Stallings in an email to me. There are few, if any, people in the world I admire and respect more than Richard Stallings.
And most importantly by treating me like an average know-nothing college student, Mr. Davis, in your condescending tone, you are only reillustrating to me that you politicians in Boise really don't care about education.