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Full video gives more context into lawmaker’s statements on teacher pay

Education

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BOISE — Idaho Rep. Ron Nate, who was overheard saying teachers are overpaid via a hot mic on the House floor, also said in the same conversation that he supports higher wages for teachers, especially those who teach math and science.

In a video obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, the Rexburg Republican is heard speaking in favor of high wages for teachers.

“Either get more teachers or pay them more,” Nate says during a conversation with Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle.

Nate’s microphone does not pick up DeMordaunt’s reply.

Later, Nate says, “What I’m getting from superintendents is they are having a hard time getting applicants, especially in science and math. … So if we can pay teachers more, especially if we could differentiate in pay in science and math. But everywhere I go the education establishment does not want to differentiate in pay.”

Nate told EastIdahoNews.com afterward that by “differentiated pay” he means by allowing districts to offer more money to teachers for difficult-to-fill teaching positions like science and math.

Later in the conversation, DeMordaunt says, “There has been studies that show if you pay a teacher more you will get more out of them,” to which Nate replies, “That’s right, that’s right. We all know our districts, we know there are some teachers there that are clearly overpaid.”

EastIdahoNews.com posted Idaho Ed News’ article on a limited portion of the conversation Tuesday. The full video of the conversation was unavailable until Wednesday.

In response to the story on EastIdahoNews.com and other media outlets, Nate wrote the following:

The entire conversation (not the 5 seconds that was reported) was about paying teachers more. Especially in science and math. I support the career ladder and have always voted for higher teacher pay.

I have been tracking overspending in all areas of the budget all session and pointing out how it could benefit teachers.

To this point we have spent $9.2 million more than we could have and that would mean $576 per teacher if redirected there. We were especially talking about the good teachers who really deserve more pay, like my son’s debate teacher. He is a gem!!

It was a positive conversation and I must have misspoke one word “over” instead of “under” or said something wrong as a lead-in to something else. That’s the whole story.

Thank you for giving me the chance to explain.

Nate, an economics professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho, voted for raises for teachers in 2015 and 2016, according to Idaho Ed News.

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