IEA HOTLINE Podcast

2023 IEA Lobby Day

January 20, 2023 Mike Journee Season 1 Episode 6
2023 IEA Lobby Day
IEA HOTLINE Podcast
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IEA HOTLINE Podcast
2023 IEA Lobby Day
Jan 20, 2023 Season 1 Episode 6
Mike Journee

This episode of IEA's HOTLINE Podcast discusses Jan. 16's  2023 IEA Lobby Day, IEA members’ annual opportunity talk directly with Idaho lawmakers about their legislative priorities for making Idaho public education the best it can possibly be for Idaho’s students and families. 

This year, more than 150 IEA members came to Boise for this year’s event, which was one of the most successful ever. Our panel also discussed a new advocacy opportunity for individual local education associations to bring their members back to the Statehouse on a designated Monday later in the session — something we call Local Lobby Day. 

Joining me for today’s conversation are:

  • IEA Political Director Chris Parri
  • IEA Organizer Eliza Walton

 

Show Notes Transcript

This episode of IEA's HOTLINE Podcast discusses Jan. 16's  2023 IEA Lobby Day, IEA members’ annual opportunity talk directly with Idaho lawmakers about their legislative priorities for making Idaho public education the best it can possibly be for Idaho’s students and families. 

This year, more than 150 IEA members came to Boise for this year’s event, which was one of the most successful ever. Our panel also discussed a new advocacy opportunity for individual local education associations to bring their members back to the Statehouse on a designated Monday later in the session — something we call Local Lobby Day. 

Joining me for today’s conversation are:

  • IEA Political Director Chris Parri
  • IEA Organizer Eliza Walton

 

Mike Journee:

Welcome to Idaho education Association's hotline podcast, a weekly discussion about what's happening at the Idaho legislature or on public education, and the policy priorities of ies members. I EAA members or public school educators from all over the state. They're Idaho's most important education experts, and they use their influence to fight for a free quality and equitable public education for every student in the state. I'm Mike journee, communications director at the IEA and I'll be your host for this episode of hotline. Today, our topic is Mondays 2023 IEA. Lobby Day, our members annual opportunity to talk directly with Idaho lawmakers about their legislative priorities for making Idaho public education, the best it can possibly be for Idaho students and families. More than 150 IEA members came to Boise for this year's event, which was one of the most successful ever. Our panel also discusses a new advocacy opportunity for all individual local education associations to bring their members back to the state house on a designated Monday later in the session, something we call local Lobby Day. joining me for today's discussion are two of my colleagues, political director Chris Perry, and IEA organizer, Eliza Walton. Thanks for joining me again for this episode of hotline podcast. And like I mentioned in the intro, we're going to be talking about a really exciting day for our members, the 2023 lobby day, which happened on Monday. You know, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday has become kind of the traditional day set aside for AAA members to come to the statehouse, and advocate with lawmakers on behalf of public education in Idaho. And this year, we had about 150, who answered that call. And Chris, you know, as our political director, give us a little perspective about why we do Lobby Day.

Chris Parri:

So, Lobby Day is one of the like, most impactful days during the session for education policy, I think in the state, a big piece of it. The reason it's so impactful is because it's kind of like a mutual demystification, between educators and legislators where, you know, educators get in the building, they start talking to the legislators, and they're like, Oh, these are people I can approach and I can tell my story to and will respond usually positively. And you will have that like, you know, that touch point and this possibility of impacting policy on the other side legislators, some legislators are demystified in their impression of educators. So those conversations are that the relationship is relationships that are built during a lobby day. And the stories that are told really do move the dial on Education Policy, humanize the educator, humanize the students to that the educators are often talking about. And you like we can see policy change after lobby day. And after the conversations continue to develop with with different educators and their legislators. It really is

Mike Journee:

probably the most important advocacy day for public education during the legislative session. I don't think it's a small stretch to say that

Chris Parri:

definitely. Yeah, it's It's wild. I mean, we saw votes change last year, on the heels of lobby day, whether it was on, you know, voucher voucher votes last session or the litany of really bad bills that were coming out of some of these corners of the legislature. We saw we saw a ton of of legislators kind of circle the wagons, essentially, and stop these bad bills from coming in. Because of the conversations that were had during Lobby Day, and that grew out of Lobby Day.

Mike Journee:

So Eliza, this was your first lobby day since we were lucky enough to bring you on as a staff member here at the Idaho Education Association. What did you think about it?

Eliza Walton:

I so enjoyed being able to connect educators with their lawmakers. I'm not new to the state house. I've been a lobbyist for three sessions. And so I know the ins and the outs of the statehouse. And so one of the things that I enjoyed most was being able to encourage educators to go and you know, talk to a security guard and asked to get into a legislators office to give tips on orienting yourself in the statehouse. It's harder than you think. And just really encouraging educators to share their stories with their legislators.

Mike Journee:

Yeah, it's really interesting, and it's great. And you know, you bring up a point that kind of segues into the next one is educators typically aren't very comfortable with the idea of lobbying, right. That's why it's really important for us for our for our professionals to be there to help them navigate and understand what's going on. But we also have a training and a dinner, traditionally on the evening before that event. And that ended up in itself as be kind of become really cool and kind of a hot ticket, you know, not only for our members but for policymakers to they're excited to come together and to break bread and talk together. In fact, we had 16 lawmakers join us this year. Both Education Committee chairpersons. Were at our Lobby Day dinner. And of course, we had the governor there. We had Lieutenant Governor there. So it was a really powerful group of of policymakers that were in the room to meet with our members. And I think our members really enjoyed it, don't you, Chris?

Chris Parri:

Yeah, I think it always blows my mind to think about, like the possibility, the possibilities that arise out of the relationships that we've built at the IEA, between educators between the IEA staff and legislators, Governor, you know, you name it. And the, the idea that we had 16, or the fact that we had 16 legislators from both parties, most of them were Republicans in the room, discussing education with our members and hearing them out and having a good time, like not just doing it because they are obligated to choosing to be there and to have fun and tell their own stories and feel welcome like i It's really inspiring to me, and it makes my job that much more rewarding to know that not only am I building relationships, in my regular job when I'm lobbying in the statehouse, between me and the the legislator, but I'm building off of and hopefully helping out the other relationships with already have that, you know, I hear about from educators and legislators kind of organically as these come up, it's really awesome. I love it's one of the most rewarding pieces of of lobbying in the statehouse, for me, that's great.

Mike Journee:

And I and, you know, we did have Governor little there he came in, he answered questions about his really impressive education policy proposals that he brought forward, the State of the State address, which really puts educator pay squarely in the center of the session this year, in a way that it really hasn't ever been, at least in recent history. And, but for me, the highlight on Sunday night was was the speech given by the House chairwoman of the Education Committee, and Julie Yamamoto, she's a career educator, and you could really tell that she spent a lot of time on her remarks and that she wanted to make a good impression on our on our members. And I really enjoyed it. Her speech was really, she used a metaphor about a recent home improvement project that she had, making the aquatic equivalent to the improvements that we need to make to the education system she talked about it was a bathroom project, where you know, they they had a really had to focus on the budget, make sure they had enough money brought in the professionals to do the the the important work and at the end of the day, they came out with not a Taj Mahal bathroom, but a an adequate bathroom that they really enjoyed. And that that provided the right kind of of things that they need in their home. So right

Chris Parri:

like, like a bathroom that meets its constitutional obligations.

Mike Journee:

So listen to this clip from from her speech.

Julie Yamamoto:

So it's important to note here, we did not burn the house down and start over. We did permanently close the downstairs bathroom and only use the two upstairs. We didn't find a neighbor's bathroom that we liked and asked the insurance to pay for us to use it. We made a plan that allowed us to do what was functional of enduring quality and within our budget even though it was above our coverage we do not have a Taj Mahal bathroom but it's plenty nice and thoroughly fulfills its purpose you know where I'm going here with the people I think everybody in this room agrees that education in Idaho is not perfect. But we do not need to burn down the current system

Mike Journee:

so you could hear the enthusiasm for that and Chris there is a not too disguised point in there about the need for completely replacing the public education system and I think she went on to talk about vouchers and some other things there that that that were important points to make. And I but our and our members saw it and really appreciated what her message was.

Chris Parri:

Yeah. And Representative Juliana moto just for some background is an incredible legislator who she's she's avidly against vouchers and the schemes that kind of pump money out of public education and we've supported her in her elections and we love going over there and chatting with her over in Caldwell. She that I love that story, the the shadow across the bow towards vouchers where she talks about we didn't you know, we didn't look at our neighbors bathroom and have someone else pay for it. Great, you know, in the eyes, of course our educators responded well to that they I don't think that many of them come down here and expect such a passionate and like deliberate like endorsement of their work and of their jobs and, and to hear it come from the chairwoman of House Education. When in the past, it has not been the same right? Like House Education has not always been the friendliest place for education policy, and to hear from such a leader. And it wasn't just her it was also Lori McCann, the vice chairwoman of the House Education she wasn't present, and nodding and clapping along along with the educators. It was really incredible. I was super impressed by that speech, I'm really glad that we, we were able to get her to chat with our educators that day.

Mike Journee:

So members are really excited for Lobby Day this year, especially after hearing the governor littles proposals for Educator pay during the legislative session, or during the State of the State Address 145 millions to boost educator pay enough to put Idaho into top 10 among states for teachers, beginning teacher salaries, and then 97 million for classified education support professionals. And, you know, I will talk about this a little bit later. But I've found that our members were really more excited about that second bit, even though most of them are certified educators and are going to benefit from the from the pay, I heard a lot from educators about about the need for classified pay.

Chris Parri:

Our members are such good people like what a testament to their integrity that they you know, of course, they were thrilled about the teacher pay but like the that the classified pay was really what their eyes were, like, you know, wide and they were cheering and hollering and everything, despite their you know, almost everyone in the room was a classified educator who would benefit from the 140 5 million just to be able to pay the classified staff that they rub shoulders with every single day, they know how important that investment is, and how important those those folks are to our schools.

Eliza Walton:

And I think this is just such a great testament to the work that the IEA does. One of the reasons why I'm so proud to work here is that I see us as the primary organization that is changing the paradigm of public education here in Idaho. And that is just one of the many successes that we that we've had and that we'll continue to have. And so when I'm when I'm out talking with both members and as well as their colleagues, that is the thing that I stress, right come be part of a community working to change public education at the state level, so that we can improve things at local levels as well.

Chris Parri:

Yeah, and very, like holistically to write like it is not just we're out for ourselves. And that's it. It's we're out there for classified staff, we you know, we we partner often with school boards and with administrators to when our when our interests align. And you know, it's just such a very supportive community. And it is unique, I think, in the entire nation to have this such a collaborative community of people advocating for education and having each other's backs. It's really awesome.

Mike Journee:

It really is, you know, this the tag onto that a little bit. Our President Lee makelele, he made some remarks in both the House and Senate Education committees on Monday while our members were present. And one of the things that he pointed out, he said, you know that yeah, that the extra paycheck is going to be great for our members and their families. He said, but they're but but in what they're really excited about is the respect that these proposals embody for them and the work that they do. And the fact that they feel like it's okay now, here in Idaho, because policymakers have their back to be a public school educator in the state. And that goes to kind of your point of lies a little bit about about the the work that goes into this and and the the backing that of our members, allow us to advocate on their behalf, and allow them to advocate for themselves and for their students, and become and make education stronger for us.

Eliza Walton:

Well, yes, absolutely. And when we talk with our members, the three things that we hear again and again, of their top priorities is that they increase their pay, protect their time and give them a voice. And I think kind of going back to that that point, protecting their time, right? If we are paying classified educators more they the school districts will be able to hire more and relieve some of that overload that our educators experience.

Mike Journee:

And maybe we should step back A little bit for some of our listeners to make the difference between a certified educator and a classified education support professional education support professionals are very important to our public schools. They are the they're the folks who make it run. Well. They're the they're the assistants in the in the office. They're the custodians. They're the bus drivers. And and Chris, there was a recent report that talked about their pay and the gap between what what school districts are currently paying them and what the state gives them for that those salaries. Right.

Chris Parri:

Yeah. So a group of legislators asked the office of performance evaluations to study how beat Yeah, essentially the gap in in classified pay to keep Idaho competitive with surrounding states and the nation at large. With how we pay our, you know, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, all those classified folks that you mentioned. And they found that we were, we were under paying them by $80 million, essentially. So the governor saw that and turn that back around work with stakeholders to come up with a plan that actually increases classified pay by $97 million. In recognition of we don't just want to be hitting the bare minimum, we don't want to just be competitive, we want to be a leader nationwide, in our not only not only with how we pay classified staff, not only with how we pay teachers, or teachers, but with our entire public education system, he's being really like ambitious and proactive in forging a new vision of what public education Idaho can be. And that's, it's pretty awesome to be a part of it. Well,

Eliza Walton:

and I think one more thing, when you think about kind of the pipeline, to, for someone to become an educator, in my everyday work, I talk with educators who started out as paraprofessionals, and ESPs. And they will, you know, gain experience in a district and then they'll go and they'll get certified as an educator. And so I think, if we are not valuing our ESPs, we're not going to see that ability for them to transition over and to get their certification. And so, you know, we hear about the lack of educators in Idaho. And so I think that that's a really important point that that kind of gets glossed over is that many educators start out as ESPs, and to recognize the value that that they're putting in there and the experience they're gaining in those districts.

Mike Journee:

I've got a really great clip here, a teacher from Kimberly, Rochelle Mueller, she talked a little bit about this really important topic.

Rachelle Mueller:

For me in my district, classified staff has been a huge issue, we are very understaffed, which creates bigger issues in our district, we cannot keep Perez in our classroom, we cannot keep custodian staff, because we're just not paying enough. So I as a teacher, I'm sweeping and vacuuming my own room, which takes away from my lesson planning and migrating. And it's just becoming a bigger issue as the pay gaps are basically increasing in our area.

Mike Journee:

And, Chris, this is something we've heard from members all across the state, this is the fact that they're they're being asked to step up. Because we have such a huge educator vacancy crisis in the state, they're being asked to step up and take on roles that that that are left vacant within the school classroom. And every time they have to attend to a sick child, or every time there is a behavioral problem. And there's not a professional staff member to be able to train to to handle that. Or anytime, anything like that happens. And they have to deal with it themselves. The learning loss for the rest of the class is something that that our members talk about a lot. And it can be it can be a pretty significant problem,

Chris Parri:

right? I mean, our educators are doing so much so well, with so little right now. And on top of that, so little time, right. And as you heard in that clip, this educator is doing extra work on top of her work as a public school teacher doing the work of the custodian that we couldn't retain because the pay was too low. Right. And that's, that's illustrative of the entire problem with staffing across the state. When we aren't able to staff public schools at the right levels. It's not like public schools have a lot of options for like cutting, you know, a bunch of programs and stuff, a lot of them will if they aren't able to staff those places, but there's an obligation there to the taxpayer to offer. You know, public education, everybody. And that means that this the classroom has to get cleaned somehow right or the the food has to get served in the cafeteria somehow. And a lot of times that'll fall onto the shoulders of an educator and administrator. Someone whose job description doesn't include that but out of necessity has to wear that hat. So as we invest in in both educator pay to retain and attract great educators, and classified pay, we're hope then we can alleviate that and let everyone instead of doing you know, you know, you can be doing 100% Great work all the time. Instead of, you know, spreading yourself thin and doing all of these different things, you can really focus on educating, writing great curriculum. And your lesson plan for that day that week that month, and gives students a great experience, which they already are doing, of course, it but the the added load, I think is really tough for a lot of educators.

Mike Journee:

On top of that, with the modest pay that neighboring states, unless Governor littles proposal comes through the neighboring states pay much better and and and they have more support staff, they have more people. So so it makes a lot of sense for some of our educators to go to other states. And we're totally

Chris Parri:

I grew up on a border, on the border with Wyoming out there. And we lost educators all the time to Wyoming because they could pay quite a bit more over there. So narrowing that gap has like a immediate effect on those, particularly those border communities where it is easy, and you the grass is greener, just across the border. So I mean, personally, I'm thrilled to buy this because I loved some of those educators that we lost to Wyoming. And I don't blame the educator for that, of course, they're looking for the right right place to start a family and to live make a living. And it's just really tough in Idaho. We know it's expensive here.

Mike Journee:

Rochelle was among a small group of members who met directly with Governor Liddell to talk about student behavioral health and well being and I was lucky enough to sit in on that conversation. It was a really good governor is very eager to address this issue and be part and part part of that conversation on top of what he's already doing, or through through salaries. And as we've been discussing. And while most lawmakers agree that something needs to be done, Christopher Crozier, an AEA member from Twin Falls had this to say about his conversation with lawmakers on the topic.

Christopher Crozier:

There's some disagreement on how we address mental health issues with because, you know, there's no set way to help people struggling with mental health. And I think there's just some disagreement on how we can best funnel those resources to each of the schools,

Mike Journee:

the better educator pay should help with the support educators have in the school building, and in turn, that might ease this issue a bit for him. But it sounds like there's a lot of work to be done on this. And,

Chris Parri:

yeah, I mean, it's not just school counselors, but they're, you know, there's the need for behavioral interventionists. And like a litany of different kinds of services that our schools need to provide adequate care to, to our students. One stat that I found really eye opening was that the American School Counselors Association recommends that there should there be 250 students per school counselor, and in Idaho, we have around 500 students per school counselor, so school counselors are in Idaho are doing twice the work for a state that is also really rural. So they're, you know, often they're split between different schools that are miles and miles apart, trying to treat twice the workload or twice the caseload for the students. And that's illustrative of kind of the entire kind of problem that we have here, which is that a lot of people are doing a lot of great work as best as they can. But unless we work out the staffing issues, you're not getting the you're not going to see the great outcomes that could be happening if we were meeting those staffing levels.

Unknown:

Yeah, and one of the things that I heard our members tell lawmakers until the governor actually was was that those counselors, staff that are in that are in our schools are often drawn into administrative work that has nothing to do with a student's mental well being Yeah, the and it goes the other way too, right. Like you hire a career counselor who should be helping folks find, you know, find their dream career path, whatever that looks like in high school or in middle school. And the they are being asked to step into the role of psychologists, school psychologists, behavioral interventionist,

Chris Parri:

all these things that they didn't sign up for either. There's a lot of it's exactly like the educator cleaning their own classroom. You have career counselors being, you know, treating students for their mental health issues when we should be having professional mental health services in our schools from the get go.

Mike Journee:

So in my discussions with members on Monday, other issues that they brought up with lawmakers were kindergarten vouchers. We haven't talked about vouchers much here. But but that was a key a key topic for for many of them. And then also funding for facilities and you know, we often talk about facilities in terms of a building being dilapidated, or the need or needs to be updated or it's overcrowded or something like that. But Lisa Okafor who is also from Twin Falls, took this tack when she was talking with lawmakers.

Lisa Odafer:

Mine has mostly been facilities upgrading and specifically safety. Not all of the schools are really have the state of the art safety things that, you know, I mean, we keep having gun threats and bomb threats. And, you know, our students are concerned and the teachers are concerned. Yeah. And so that we need the funds to be able to upgrade our buildings so that they're more safe.

Mike Journee:

And so Lisa's take wellness was very important to the government. In fact, he put$20 million into his budget recommendations for security upgrades, Chris and and, you know, that's, that's a really important part of this, because of the headlines that we see all too often coming across the, from across the country about this and about the shootings and and the things that that that Lisa was talking about. And I think that's an important thing for many lawmakers, we're probably going to see a pretty important discussion about this. And as for the governor budget, I don't know what you think. Yeah, I

Chris Parri:

mean, and not only in other parts of the country, but we had a really heartbreaking incident in eastern Idaho this past year as well, with a student who brought a gun to school. But yeah, so they every couple of years, there's a safety evaluation done by the state of this of school districts. And this, this 20 million is an investment to help bolster the improvements recommendation recommended by those studies. So things like securing hard points in the sorry, skip that I don't know what a hardpoint is. So this money could go towards ensuring there's keycard access, single point of entry, strong doors on the schools, all those things really keep the precious cargo inside of the school safe. educators, students, staff, everybody's safe. So that's a great investment. See, we're also hoping that there could be that this could be used to also address some of the Mental Health gaps, as well. We know mental health is also investing in mental health and investment in school safety, and community safety. So we're hoping that this is a holistic approach to school safety. That includes Yes, the physical safety, making sure that when you walk into a school everyone feels safe and able to learn, and also to prevent potential incidents of violence and behavioral issues in school. So yeah, it's a really great investment. It shows just how kind of dedicated folks in the State Department and State Board and the governor's office are all to making sure that the schools run smoothly and without as without interruptions and learning loss as much as possible.

Mike Journee:

Now, last a year charge of a special group of members during our during lobby day, our ies, gems team, which stands for growing engage members, and their their member organizers that you've been working with a bit. Tell us a little bit about the gems program, and what our goals are for those members going forward?

Eliza Walton:

Absolutely. So the greengage member program gems for short, we are the gem state is to grow membership and engage current members in our union. So one of the ways that we do that is we provide training on transformational versus transactional conversations. And so one of the ways that that looks right is training them to have conversations that build ongoing relationships with their colleagues, whether that's a member, or just someone who works across the hall from them. And, you know, one of the reasons why I'm so excited about this program is I get to work with them, I get to check in with them once a week and share with them, you know, the incredible work that our government relations team is doing and ways that they can get there. The members they know whether they're in their local, their district or across Idaho more engaged with, you know, legislative issues this session.

Mike Journee:

And Lobby Day is a perfect place for those kinds of skill sets and the and that they that we want them to build. And so they came in, they took part and you you help them start those conversations, right.

Eliza Walton:

Yeah, so one of the big projects that the gym team is working on is reaching out to educators across the state to attend their local Lobby Day. So there'll be local lobby days throughout the session, I'm sure that we've spoken and we've sent stuff out about this. You know, we're very excited to talk about a little bit more here. No, that's fantastic. So one of the reasons why I'm excited about this is because there was so much energy and excitement and momentum built on the 16th When we were all in that building together. I think I stepped I had 1500 steps that day. I'm just going back and forth, you know, across across the building and so the local lobby days will be primarily to maintain that momentum and Keep that excitement going and, and reminding legislators that our educators have stories that they need to hear when they're considering policy discussions. But one thing that I really want to make sure all of our members that are that are listening to this know, if you're considering attending lobbied local lobby days is that you don't need to understand the policy backwards and forwards. You know, our incredible government relations team created a policy guide based upon the priorities that our members set for this legislative session. And so you can use that guide to tailor the stories that you tell to when you're when you're having conversations with legislators. And so one of the one of the big things that drives me is creating opportunities for folks to engage with that with their elected representatives. And so I just want you to know that come and share your stories. And that is really what's going to make the difference in policy.

Mike Journee:

And we want the our gems to be a central part of these local lobby days, they're going to be engaging with members and getting them helping helping get members now that they've got a lobby day under their belt, they know what's gonna be happening, right. And so they'll be able to relay that to the members that we were trying to recruit to get engaged in the local updates, which we'll talk about a little bit more in a second.

Eliza Walton:

Absolutely. Lobbying is an intimidating thing, right? You go into that building, you don't know which rooms you have access to which ones you don't, you don't always know how to find the offices or even which floor something is on. And one of the great things about the gym team is that we have provided training for them to understand that and so they can act as a liaison with legislators and members coming in on local lobby day.

Mike Journee:

Right. Now, local lobby day is a new thing for us guys, we we've we haven't had this opportunity. And basically what it is is an opportunity for a Local Education Association, to bring members their own members individually, individually as a as their local education association, to the statehouse and continue the work of the the main lobby day that we had on Monday. And and it's a really great opportunity for them to focus specifically on their lawmakers and on issues specific to their school district. Right, Chris?

Chris Parri:

That's right. Yeah. I've already started kind of the follow up meetings that I want to have with with legislators after they've spoken to our educators. This past Lobby Day. And this is an those are really valuable conversations just for me for my job. But it's immensely more valuable and more impactful to have those educators come back around a couple of weeks after lobby day, month after Lobby Day and check in with the priorities that they've they were talking about with that legislator on Lobby Day, the big Lobby Day. So these little lobby days kind of local lobby days, give the present a great opportunity for folks to swing back around to the statehouse, talk to those legislators about this priorities and basically track the momentum right

Mike Journee:

and and bring more of their their colleagues into the fold and get them engaged in this in this important work that that we do down at the Statehouse on behalf of education policy, right?

Chris Parri:

And maybe even like scold a few people at play, do you even do it now? Right? Just kidding, don't do that. Don't do it, no scolding. How about that for local? That's the only rule. But yeah, there's really valuable conversations that we had, just following up with folks and maintain that relationship.

Mike Journee:

And engagement is really the bread and butter of the association without engaged members. We don't really have a robust organization that's going to be out making positive changes on behalf of students and families through the public education system. And so that's that's a big part of why the the gyms program started. Absolutely. And

Eliza Walton:

one of the key distinctions that we make in the training that we provide for the gym team, is the difference between a transactional and transformational conversation. And so the way I kind of like to look at it is that transactional conversation is join, join our union so that you can get benefits, you can get a discount here there and you can get liability insurance versus come join a community that is working to improve public education at the state level. If we're not the organization doing it, no one is and we are working tirelessly to improve public education

Mike Journee:

and our members right along with us. Right that's it's such an important thing to do.

Chris Parri:

Another really great thing that happened on Lobby Day was a lunch that I and about eight educators were able to have with with Debbie Crutchfield and the new superintendent of public instruction. We all got Panera and sat in a conference room in the State Department. And we chatted mostly actually about her interest in in professional development and meeting the needs of educators and there was a great He's just such a good conversation about professional development opportunities, things that educators ought to know during school as well. So what we can add to curriculum or change about what educators learn in, in their in university before they become educators. And how that could help, you know, further down the road and prepare educators even better for what they they're actually going to face in the classroom. Just really great conversations, I was really impressed by both the superintendent and by the the educators and the way they were able to really just have a really candid and great conversation really collaborative conversation about professional development and ways that the state board of education might be able to help our State Department of Education might be will help out with that.

Mike Journee:

And that's, that's such an important part of what we do for educators through our Center for Teaching and Learning. Summer Institute is one of the great opportunities for educators to, to come free of charge to come to a great three or four day conference where there's all kinds of public, sorry, professional development, put on by members. And it's it was really exciting thing for me to participate in last last summer, so

Eliza Walton:

and you can find more information on local lobby days on our website, and you'll see a list of different locals that are attending on different weeks. And if you don't see your local there, reach out to your President and they can schedule a time for your local to come out for local lobby days. The sooner that you get this on the calendar, the better, because we want to make sure that everyone is able to attend those local lobby days. So check our website. If you're if you're locals in there, reach out to your President and if it is there, sign up.

Mike Journee:

That's right. Idaho eaa.org Is the association's website and there's there's opportunities there to take take a look at. In addition to that to that is a special signup spot for this for to get an email when we have a new episode of hotline podcast shameless plug like so take a take a moment to sign up and we'll send you an email since we have a new episode out. You can also listen Of course, anywhere you listen to your other podcast. So Well, guys, thanks. We think we can all agree that I EAS 2023 lobby day was a huge success. And anyone who wants to get a better feel for what it was all about. can check out our social media feeds, there was a ton of photos that are that our members took while they were having their meetings and, and you can also search for more information about things. And when you search, the hashtag we put out there hashtag Idaho I'm sorry, hashtag IEA Lobby Day 2023. So thanks for much discussion, guys.

Chris Parri:

Just one more thing. I just want to thank all of the legislators or all of the educators who came down to you know, spend that day and a half with us in the legislature and for dinner and everything it was it really put a bunch of wind in my sails for sure. But I think the entire IAEA staff is getting a lot of it, it's really heartening to know that we're that supported by our our members and that they're that our members are so effective that they have our back and we have their back. It's really encouraging particularly going into what we know is going to be a pretty dramatic legislative session this year for sure.

Mike Journee:

And their presidents put a lot of wind into the policies the that we really want to get get through the legislature to That's right, it was it was important part of that. Thanks for that edition Chris. Thanks, Eliza. Chris. Thanks a lot. Thanks, Mike.

Eliza Walton:

Thanks for having us.

Mike Journee:

Thank you for listening to Idaho education Association's hotline podcast. Thanks as well to my colleagues Chris Perry and Eliza Walton. Please watch for future updates about new episodes on IEA social media channels, or sign up for email updates on our website and Idaho eaa.org. I'm Mike journee. And as always, I hope you'll join me in thanking Idaho's public school educators for everything that they do for our State students, families and public schools.