Wednesday, May 31, 2017

To the Idaho State Board of Education

In case you're wondering what this is about.

Greetings Board Members,

As a resident of Bonneville County – specifically the city of Ammon – I’d like to be considered as a member of the Board of Trustees for the College of Eastern Idaho.

First, a little about me. I’m a life-long resident of Bonneville County. I graduated from Bonneville High School in 1990 and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Idaho in 1997. I worked for various local newspapers until 2005, when I accepted a job as a technical writer at the Idaho National Laboratory. In 2009, I earned a master’s degree in English with an emphasis on technical writing from Utah State University. I have worked at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex for 11 years. For the past three years, I’ve also worked part-time as an online adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University-Idaho, teaching English.

My wife and I have three children, attending Hillcrest High School and Sandcreek Middle School. We also volunteer extensively with the Grand Teton Council of the Boy Scouts of America, me as an assistant round table commissioner and scoutmaster, my wife as round table commissioner and as the council’s food coordinator.

I’m also a property tax payer in Bonneville County, and am interested in seeing citizens get a good return on their investment in education.

I’ve seen firsthand what it’s like trying to get an education in Eastern Idaho, as a student, as a teacher, and as a parent.

I was lucky enough to find a technical writing master’s program conducted entirely online by Utah State when I was looking to further my education. Being able to take classes online meant I could still work full-time to provide for my family – we’re a single-income household – while getting the education I wanted. Online classes made that possible, but isn’t yet an option for everyone in this area, no matter what technical advances have been made.

As an online instructor at BYU-Idaho, I see a lot of non-traditional students such as myself going back to school to earn degrees that for whatever reason they were not able to earn earlier in their lifetime. Again, online classes and inexpensive tuition are making their dreams come true, and I believe the College of Eastern Idaho could do the same for many who are not of the LDS faith or who want a live classroom experience closer to home.

As a parent, I’ve tried to navigate the many programs offered to high school students to earn college credit. While the programs are beneficial, they’re also a bit Byzantine. Of ten our questions on the program are met with “I don’t knows” or shrugs from those in the schools who should be able to help us sift through the bureaucracy. A local college would present high schooloers – and those freshly graduated – with the opportunity to earn college credit from folks whose business it is to help them do exactly that at a low cost.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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