November 10, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis

Advocating for students and teachers to create the best environment for learning is the number one goal for the Idaho Education Association.

Recruiting and Retaining Teachers

Karrie Overall is the president of IEA. She says Idaho has smart students and talented teachers, but there are also struggles in the Idaho education system.

“IEA will continue to advocate for that so that people will want to continue to move to Idaho and live in our great state,” Overall said. “We want to ensure that every student regardless of the district they live in has access to public schools.”

Overall says one of the top issues Idaho faces is recruiting and retaining teachers.

Fifteen percent of teachers will leave in the first five years. Overall says this could be because teachers aren’t being paid enough, they don’t’ feel support or have a mentor. They may also feel isolated when they are the only person teaching their curriculum in the school.

“As a state, we need to do better about addressing some of those concerns to ensure that Idaho students continue to have a qualified, talented teacher to educate them,” Overall said.

Where They Go

Overall says graduating teachers from Eastern Idaho tend to go to Utah and Wyoming for jobs while the northern part of Idaho teachers might leave for Washington where they will make $30,000 a year more than their pay in Idaho.

“Regardless of where they are going, we know that Idaho is not retaining them, so we need to do more as a state to solve that problem,” Overall said.

How the IEA Helps

The IEA has been advocating for better pay, mentorship and better planning to retain these teachers.

IEA also provides professional development workshops where teachers can learn different skills to help them grow in their career.

“We believe as we support our profession, and build it up, we can do our part to help solve the recruitment and retention problem in our state,” Overall said.

Overall says they know people care about all children receiving a good education.

“As we all work together to achieve that goal of great public school we can ensure that Idaho remains a place that people want to move to,” Overall said.