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A little. Funding for Idaho reports is provided by the Friends of four 10 and 12. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by a grant from the laurel Moore coming him foundation. You can have an independent judiciary if the legislature is going to listen to the judiciary review the constitutionality of a particular law or a particular legislative act and then say well if you're going to do that we're not going to pay you anymore. Obviously that system cannot work. We are hiring judges in Idaho. Oh I know them personally who have done one or two trials in their whole lives and now they will preside over trials. They will be the person managing the system they've barely participated in. And I certainly would at the beginning of such a person's career question their competence. If you examine the statistics you will see that some judges have very few appeals and some judges have large numbers of appeals but they all seem to be handling basically the same caseload. But then maybe you can arrive at an answer to that question as to
what percentage of the judges are competent period. Good evening. It is a rare occurrence when a relatively young man who's been a judge for 10 years decides to quit the judiciary. It is virtually unheard of when a retiring judge says directly and publicly that he's leaving the bench because the salaries of Idaho's judges are shameful but shameful is the word that 2nd District Judge Andrew Schwamm of Moscow used today when announcing his resignation from the bench. Among other things the judge who will no longer be a judge after midnight tonight says low salaries will mean less experienced judges will end up in Idaho courts. He said there will be more appeals and possibly unfair sentences rendered. And speaking directly to the state legislature which decides how much judges will be paid.
Andrew Schwab says the salaries of district and Supreme Court judges have remained low because lawmakers have disagreed with various decisions made by various judges. Judge Juan will be joining us in just a moment to talk about this and other matters affecting the judiciary tonight. The judge's comments about salaries for Idaho's judiciary came at a time when more and more judges are publicly speaking about this issue. Idaho judges are the lowest paid in the country. Forty five thousand three hundred dollars a year for a district judge. But the legislature has been reluctant to consider pay hikes for judges at a time when some state employees have had their salaries frozen and admittedly everyone agrees that budgets are tight. Tonight we'll hear about that from two members of the state legislature and from a former district judge who is now a private practicing attorney in Twin Falls. We begin though with Judge one who's been on the bench since 1974 and late to county. He's quitting effective tomorrow to start a private practice with his wife who is also an attorney in Moscow. Judge a pretty sweeping indictment of the
legislature today and some of the things you said implying I think that political considerations go into whether salaries are granted for judges. Well I think the first thing I'd like to say in answer to that is is that my exact words were. And I don't mean to retreat from the impression you give because in effect I did say that but I said that I was convinced that some members of the legislature considered in voting on judicial pay raises their opinions about particular decisions that had been rendered by this or that judge. I did not say that was the sole consideration but that I thought that that was a consideration at work in the minds of some members of the legislature maybe even many members in casting their votes of that meaningful impact on their decision. And then I indicated that I thought taking that kind of thing into consideration was shameful. I did not indicate that the pay was shameful because frankly I think the level of the pay as compared to the rest of the country indicates that on its own what is shameful about legislators considering how a judge rules on this are going to decide how to pay him. It's a plain failure to
understand our system of government. And if that's a sweeping indictment of the people in the legislature then I suppose I have to honestly make it. You learn in high school that we have a system of checks and balances in the United States. And each branch of government is supposed to stand to some extent in check of the governmental decisions of other branches so the government never becomes a single tyranny. And the effort by the legislature any effort by a legislature anywhere to control the income of judges based upon whether or not the judiciary will conform to the wishes of the legislature is a serious threat to that entire concept. And frankly it doesn't happen to the best of my knowledge even in countries where they use a parliamentary system when the parliament is supreme and there is not even the Constitution of course Idaho's a constitutional government then district judges are constitutional officers. And basically they must operate independently of the wishes of the legislature. And so the salary that is set for the position of district judge must not be based upon whether or not the legislature likes the way that independent branch of government is operating because if that's how salaries are set it will no longer be an independent branch of government.
As I mentioned the salary now for a district judge is forty five thousand three hundred dollars a year what should it be in order to be comparable to other states for example. Well in order to be comparable to other states it would have to rise into the mid 50 thousands and that would put you somewhere in the middle of the country. Maybe a little above or a little below the middle. But frankly that's an inadequate figure. It is generally understood in the legal profession that state judges as a whole with some exception are generally underpaid. And frankly if you simply wanted to pay an Idaho district judge today the same amount of purchasing power that he had in the early 70s 73 or 74 when you came on the right you'd have to raise the pay of a district judge into the low 60 thousands. So as my letter of resignation indicates. State judges have never been well paid but there certainly has been a trend in Idaho in effect to reduce their income. And that was generally didn't
occur. In other words normally society strikes a compact with a person who becomes a judge and that is you choose the career and you get a certain standard of living and you can expect to have it. That's the bargain you make because of course we don't want judges in effect spending their time seeking salary increases or sitting in fear that this or that decision they may make will impact their economic well-being as sort of an understanding that that will occur. Their decisions are independent of their economic well-being. Well as I understood what you were saying today the danger in all of this the salaries being as low as they are is that in essence only inexperienced or if you will unsuccessful lawyers will aspire to the for the bench and will in fact have incompetent judges. Well there's no question in my mind that you will eventually have a judiciary that is worth the sum of money you paid to the judges. Because of course over time the type of applicant who seeks a position is at least partially affected by the salary and it's tough to get something
for nothing in a free enterprise system. So eventually Idaho's judiciary will reflect its pay scale on this pay scale has been steadily dropping. And so in a sense right now the taxpayers may be getting something for nothing because people who came on at the higher levels of pay are still here but. But that will not go on forever. Obviously eventually you get what you paid for and let me ask you this why did you decide as I said at the beginning it's pretty unusual for someone you obviously your age to retire from the bench but to do it in such a public manner. Why did you decide to go so public. Well to be perfectly honest when a district judge resigns which is an event which happens very rarely it attracts a great deal of attention. I've been frankly contacted by the press from all over the state and continually asking me whether it's true that I'm thinking about resigning and seems that they're privy to your thoughts. So in a sense you don't have to seek a lot of publicity I finally decided the simplest way to handle those kinds of groups is to call a press conference at the time I did it and explain my reasons I think it is important for the legislature to understand and have somebody say to them
whose pay will no longer be affected by their decision so they can point their finger at me and say he simply wants to get more money. You've been doing this the wrong way and you've been making a mistake. Come back thank you. For a different view of all of this we turn now to two members of the Idaho legislature state Senator Breaux Sweeney is a Democrat from Washington. Senator Sweeney who joins us tonight in Moscow is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Mack Nye bars a state representative from Paul. Mr. Nye Barres a leading Republican member of the joint finance Appropriations Committee of the legislature. Dr. Moore let me ask you first you just heard Judge say that you've been doing this wrong and you ought to quit. What's your what's your response to that. Well Lott I can't agree totally with what the judge says I have some sympathy and what not. We do need to put better people into the Judge position because of the vital decisions that are made. But on the other hand that we're not a rich state and I don't
know why everybody that's in state government or on tax payrolls feels like that we've got to maintain to them the value of the dollar everybody gets paid taxes as a whole and not in private industry or not having that advantage. The other thing that I might tell a judge is that it's just a Styx show despite of what they want that their performance record. What I guess what I'm trying to say is if their performance record was better that the caseload was decreasing and trials was coming up more promptly and cases being dispensed with and in a quicker and better fashion they may not run into so much opposition on salary. And I do take a definite exception with him that judicial decisions have something to do with people voting against the judges. I think that's that's a very
bad statement and I know of nobody that. So people aren't voting in effect on whether to give a judge a pay raise on the basis of how he ruled on a reapportionment case for example. No I don't think that there's anything to that. There may be some tendency by people as a whole to say judges are lenient in in the sentences they give and therefore maybe something ought to be looked at in that case but that too. Give us an ass with the record that we vote against a pay raise because we don't like their judicial decisions I don't think is right. Forty five thousand three hundred dollars a year is that a shameful salary for a district judge. Well I don't think it's shameful but it's not as good as it ought to be but I want to remind you again here that when the judge took that job there wasn't any question in his mind or in his statements of acceptance that that was a bad salary. I know that he was looking for a better salary but I think that he took the position because of the
prestige and his desire to do something within the law profession that just like we do in the legislature. And I think that had a whole lot to do with why pick the job that the salary was not that crucial of a thing to him. Right. Senator Sweeney in Moscow I know you had some responsibility in the Senate last year for getting a bill to increase the salaries out of committee in the Senate but voted against it on the floor. Why was that. Well Mark partially I made a commitment that the salary bill ought to be ought to be out where everybody can talk about it. But as far as support for the bill is concerned. I look for the legal community to tell me where the salary level should be and that the salary levels that were on that bill did not have all that good of support from the legal community from the other constituents it didn't seem to make much difference. They don't seem to get involved so much in what you pay judges unless they are directly
directly affected by a judge's decision. And there aren't all that many of them quite frankly that have that happen to them. What I look like I say at the legal community in the legal community simply did not have the overwhelming support for the salary levels that were in that particular bill. Why is that do you support this right. You mean well I don't know I I I disagree with Judge and agree with Mack concerning the decisions by members of the legislature I don't think that they make decisions as to what the what they should pay the judges based on a decision that they made. It may be one or two. But I did not hear that at any time and nor do I believe that that that is the case I think they they look at what what the salary levels are and what they probably should have been a relation of what other people are getting right. Just to let me just raise one example I'm not questioning your but there were a lot of legislators who
were upset for example about the reapportionment decision both as to how it was handled at the district court level and at the Supreme Court level. You're saying they didn't see any cause and effect there between the salaries in the decision. Well I don't think so Mark. Now at least I didn't perceive that with the people that I'm more closely associated with nor did I hear that from anyone else. OK. Right it wouldn't be a safe statement though to say that the judges are not paid enough now and they aren't and the salaries ought to be increased. I agree with that I I think that we that first of all you have to be competitive with the in within the profession. And if we can attract. Good competent legal minds into him to become judges then we aren't paying him enough. Then it doesn't make any difference whether you're in business either as a farmer or or as a businessman on Main Street. You have to be competitive with the people that you hire and if you're not competitive you can it you can
attract competent people I'm not exactly sure where that where that salary level should be but I believe that it ought to be higher than what it is. Let me just go back to Mack and I bore her for a moment Mr. number would it make any difference to you as a member of the legislature if the legal profession that Senator Sweeney said was to come forward and say to you are judges as a as a whore as a great majority of the legal profession saying we're poor judges enough we have to pay more. Here's an idea of where to start. Would that make any difference to you. All it would probably have some bearing but I do get that already. I've had several calls now. Concerning judges salaries and I want to interject one thought here and that is you probably can attract some better people from the legal profession to a judgeship. However I don't think even if you doubled the salaries that you get the best ones because those best ones may not want to be a judge and they're already making much more money than they'd ever make under those circumstances.
SOL. So money doesn't necessarily make what it is. Well I don't put it quite that way. I want to monitor your money may not poll the very best people into the into the position of a judge right. Bruce Where do you agree with that. Well I agree with that yes to a certain extent I it. I think we ought to pay more and if we can have as many judges because we can afford the total dollars from the general fund then we still ought to pay and Lauren maybe have fewer judges although I don't subscribe to that but I think if that were the only alternative that we had then I think that would be a better alternative than not bringing salaries up to a competent level. Come back in a minute on with our final view of this tonight comes from a former district judge who is now in private practice of law in Twin Falls. Wide Web was a district judge in the mid 1960s in the 11th Judicial District basically four counties in south central Idaho. Two as I said currently practices law in Twin Falls was money a factor in you
leaving. It certainly was. Whenever you look out and see someone that you think is about half as competent as you are making twice as much money you think real quickly about leaving the bench it wasn't the only factor certainly but it certainly was a significant factor. There's a trial lawyer and a former judge do you think of what and reform is done here today. While I think we're going to see more and more of it I hear Doug Kramer one of the finest lawyers in southern Idaho talk about leaving the bench because he can't afford to see a lot of young promising judges that don't think they can stay because they don't think they can afford it. I don't necessarily subscribe to the motives of the legislature is reported to have a court in Judge. But I do think the legislature is being very short sighted I just ran a tape when I was called for this assignment to see what I thought an average lawyer in Idaho made an average good lawyer and I think judges should be better than an average good lawyer and not working terribly hard and not being terribly efficient with his overhead. I think it's very easily easy for an average lawyer in Idaho to
make $5000 a year which is 10000 more than the district judges of prison making. And that's just bullishness may attract the young man there because he wants the status of being a judge or whatever it is that gives you the glory that I thought was there when I first took the job. But you're not going to keep him or her unless you offer them an attractive salary. We've seen but Hagen one of the better judges of the state leave the bench later for the federal judiciary. And I think we're going to see more of that the less we know it more attractive. Will we see as as has been suggested here and refuted here. Better judges if the salaries are increased. Or will we. There's It doesn't need much does it necessarily follow. We have been blessed I think with a superb crop of judges through the years. But we also have some very bad ones and I think that if you raise the salary you're going to have more qualified candidates for the Judicial Council and the governor to choose from
and the better judges are going to stay. Right now I think the better judges are the ones who are thinking about leaving because it's more practical. Are we. Mr. Webb sort of engaging in a false economy here if some people think that maybe we shouldn't. We can't afford now to pay judges more. So we're going to keep their salaries out or about where they are now. But the false economy being that will have more appeals. The judicial process will take longer. And that's got to be a costly proposition is there a false economy there. I think it definitely is a false economy. Totally satisfied that we're going to see a more efficient judge if we PAME better but I think the chances that that's going to happen. If I were on the bench and I felt that I was being paid poorly it certainly wouldn't give him much incentive to get my work done more rapidly. And of course the whole the salary when it is means to allow to decrease because inflation despite the reduction in place in the last four
years. Inflation continues to go away at the salary and so actually as the judge said the district judge is getting paid less than he was for five years. He or she certainly can't stand that. OK well let's open this up gentlemen. Invite any of you to get back in whatever whenever you want to but let me go back first to the two legislators are remarked Mr. Knight Barr Are you concerned that more judges might good admittedly good judges that everybody recognizes as a good judge will be leaving the bench because they're not paid. This is always a concern. You hate to see good people leave in and go away in a fight. If I thought the truly money was the root of that then I'd be quite a lot more sympathetic and I am somewhat sympathetic. But. I've also always went on the the theory that there's another good man that wants to come along and take their place. Now Mr. Webb made a statement here that's
interesting to me and that is we pay these judges on a given salary. Why don't we pay him on a performance record. Mr. Webb will answer that question. Nice a very I don't know whether it has to work I suppose we could get into the mode of work that they accomplished us at the you couldn't get to the quality of the decisions because that's an extremely subjective decision but we could perhaps expect more of some of the little we do now in the. I don't know how that message could get out but I don't know whether that's a practical approach to the problem or not it certainly would cause some significant problems for the concept of an independent judiciary in Iraq. Well the reason that I bring that up in a DO is on the spur of the moment thinking but. You know a lot of us went out on a limb here several years ago and went really serious for the appellate court. And I was one of those because I thought it. I feel like that the longer a case goes that's the court in Idaho between the district and the surprise but the
longer a case goes with it that's not acted upon and and ruled upon you do in measurable damage to those people that's involved. Now we put that appellate court in and instead of shortening the days for four decisions to come down it's lengthened them and somewhere along the line I feel like that we've got to inject something into our court sation court systems. So that people get a quicker trial and. Taking care of that way and so on. That's the reason I say that it may be. Maybe if we could fix it so that the judge his record was good in these number of cases took place why. Let's pay more money just for my right that I don't have to. The feeling and some members of the legislature that if the case load if there were to be proven that the caseload was decreasing that the cases were moving faster that there might be more sympathy for your position. Well I have to predict just the opposite because the argument is specious. If you have a false argument you will never solve your
problem. If you're critical of the work of judges today all you've demonstrated is that you haven't paid enough money to attract people who are able to do the job you want done. If you own a car company and design cars and nobody likes them you fire your designers and you pay new ones more money and you get the best designers in the business you don't fire your designers and then offer a lower salary than you've been offering. The difficulty with the legislature's reaction is that they look at a judicial review and say they're not happy and I won't argue about whether they're happy with the decisions but let's assume they're only unhappy with the performance. If you're unhappy with the performance of a group of people obviously your hiring practices have not been affected. And you've got to raise the pay and it's really not very complicated. And I frankly have to agree with some of the things that have been said. The judiciary is not a body of perfect people who never make an error. And it can only be as good as the judge is walking by the judiciary. Mark is joining us or Mark I wonder I asked Judge Juan the question at noon I happen to hear Paul Harvey and he indicated that that one Supreme Court judge somewhere in one
state I don't remember which judge it was said that the caseload which represented Nygaard talked about has increased significantly because of the type of cases that are being brought to the court and he indicated that the decision of a football referee at a high school football game. A number of other things that are normally handled either with the family or church. And I'm wondering if if a certain amount of the caseload in Idaho has come about the same way. Well I can answer that by saying that the bulk of the judge's time is spent in trial and frivolous cases rarely go to trial. They get an enormous amount of publicity until the readers of newspapers think that's the only thing we're doing. But that is exactly an incorrect impression I actually frivolous cases are not the problem of the court system today and frankly in my opinion the caseload is not the problem I think statistics exist to show that if anything in the last year or so it's been holding steady or dropping slightly. I think very frankly if you're unhappy with the performance of a group of people filling the
position then the position must be better compensated and I think that's the trouble with the legislature's thinking up to now. They look at individual judges and talk about paying them but they're not paying judges they're paying a position they're filling in traditionary relevant information I have one final comment on that and the difference on the morrow. For the judges information and maybe what I've got not quite correct. But in 1980 a picture of an intern Jenny five days to get your your case decided in 1903 it took eight hundred forty dates. In 1980 we had six hundred nine cases of the backlog in 1983 we got seven hundred forty two SOL. Not only is the caseload increasing but the length of time to settle it is information and we have put quite a little bit more money into the judicial system over the years. Both Senator Sweeney and I represented my bar took exception to your linking of the salary issue with various cases that judges have decided.
Well this reminds me of sitting as a judge in a courtroom where you have what we call a conflict in testimony and one person gets up and says this happened and another person gets up and swears under oath to tell the truth and says No just the opposite how can you give me an example of work for example where it has happened is reapportionment a good case that's the one that I use. Well actually from my personal experience the times that members of the legislature have told me that they voted against judges pay bills because of the think of the decisions did not involve reapportionment. Which is why in my interview I was very careful not to name the games I've had members of the legislature specifically Domi they weren't going to give Judge so-and-so a pay raise because he made so-and-so decision I've just been told that and I appreciate that candor because that gave me an insight into the the process by which the judge's salary was being considered. And you'll notice I didn't name a member of the legislature because one thing I haven't interviewed every one of them or have them come to me. But there's no question there are members in the legislature who vote on salary based upon what they think the decisions are in the courts. Mr. Webb you're going to play for some advice which they do in this area.
I think they ought to do the same thing they would do a little business they would ask themselves What would I have to pay for someone to handle this particular piece of work for me in a good way if my estate was going to go before this fellow or this woman or if my civil piece of work was going to go before this wall or this man I would want someone with confidence be in there. And if they would consider that was sane business like way that they do their own affairs I think they will come up with a conclusion that a district judge should be paid the high 50s or low 60s a thousand dollars a year because that is what they're going to have to pay to get someone somewhere above average in the legal field to do the work and I think that's what they want and what they need. Bruce when you just in a word what's the chance of going to slit your will in the coming session increase salaries for judges. I think they will mark. I was interested in the average salary of the of the of that average attorney at 55000 and I think that that the legislature will probably might be in the ballpark I gather.
That's that's where I think I'm going to leave it there. So is winning an Oscar thanks for joining us tonight Mr. Webb and listen and I warn that's one thing you don't know. That's our time for tonight will be back tomorrow. More. Funding for Idaho reports is provided by the Friends of four 10 and 12. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by a grant from the laurel Moore coming him foundation. Funding for Idaho reports is provided by the Friends of four 10 and
12. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by a grant from the laurel Moore coming am foundation. What's your problem with the public schools. Nothing. About. Nothing at all. You know we just witnessed what our children at home rightly Sam Shippey his two brothers and their wives spent their 13th day in jail today while the three couple's children remain at home and out of school. Sam Shippey 7 year old daughter spent part of today writing a letter to her mother in jail. Tonight we'll look at this increasingly celebrated case where an Idaho family is defying state law about sending their children to school. Good evening. Just how far can the state go in its efforts to assure that children are properly educated. Just what is the state's legitimate interest in the education
of children. Who is to decide what makes for adequate schooling. Should the state decide. Should parents decide all of those questions are being played out right now not in some theoretical discussion in a political science or education classroom but in a courtroom and in a jail cell in Payette County. Three brothers all of them named Shippey and their wives are in jail tonight still refusing to acknowledge that the state has a responsibility to require that either their children attend a public school or a private or approved home school that meets certain state standards. The shipping case is drawing a lot of attention beyond the borders of Idaho now. We'll be focusing on it tonight hearing shortly on tape from one of the Shippey brothers will also be discussing the situation later with state school superintendent Jerry Evans with State Representative Bob fori among others. Yesterday about 15 members of the close knit Shippey family filed quietly into the Payette County Courthouse where 16 of the family school aged children pleaded innocent to charges of truancy. The arraignment
of the children follows the jailing of their parents on November 15th. The parents had failed to a bay a court order that they provide approved schooling for their children. The children were scheduled to go back to court again next week. If the children are found next week to have been truant the court could order them placed in a foster home or in a state institution. I don't know a lot requires all children or I should say all parents to educate their children from ages 7 through 16 and again either a public or approved home or private school. The shippers have rejected that notion almost completely saying that they should decide what kind of education their children receive producer Gary Richardson talked in jail today to one of the shifty Brothers Sam Shippey. Two years ago when we took had a private school I mean we went into this state and got a certificate for private school. Black Canyon private school and we thought that we was doing it legally. You know we always kind of one never did want to send our children you know school really. And so we took them out and in anyway they took us to court and they
won and we sent it back and we felt like we never feel good about the decision we made and we they went for two years. Shippey explained that before the family's two year probation was up they pulled the children out of school again after receiving an order to appear in court. Why aren't you willing to work out something with the superintendent an acceptable program at home. Oh. I don't know the deal they had leaked it that they sent out we could never done it anyway. That boy had to have accredited teachers and proper dance proper lighting you know everything like that which we don't have nobody there that went to school far enough you know to teach him at home. They wouldn't have we ask him to prove this bill but they didn't. You know to get into the school board. Some people argue that that you're By doing this you're depriving the kids of skills that they really need to succeed in the society. I mean it to me unless I prove an unfit parent you know first
time should be proven an unfit parent. It would be my decision. Same as it is each parents this age you know to raise his own children. But they haven't proven at yet that our children are going to be deficient and proper for society you know to live in of course the law doesn't say that they have to the law says you have to send the kids to school. That's all the Ezy out it isn't. But if they did if they checked their records you know those last two years and they say that it was no good send it by force you know the biggest percent of our children are a flock and some other great schools were done better but we didn't do it because they wanted to the children in go because they wanted to you know we just. Forced deal or forced attendance is all day as you know and it wasn't so bad Santa before we thought we had to do that when we sent him to stay out of jail. It was very hard you know because of fear of going to jail. You know then it was just as off hard live with. Do you object to what they're being taught in the schools.
Oh not much. Probably some of it I would if I knew but I don't know it you know I don't consider it important you know schooling like most people would. What do you consider home to be good. You know really that's what we strive most for to be you know you and others as they would you would have them do unto you you know just good children look good morals you know. And I've got four daughters married now. It's their right side they all live and you know it. Would you say that there's a religious motivation behind what you're doing. Oh yeah yes. Yeah you know it tells a father to raise his children and that you have an ace a lord you know so I may say that of the Raising rates of in children who turn to have a need to Lord and Lady that's happens and you know and it have to be my this age and then you know how to raise and should be you know not not the law unless I proved you know that I abuse my children
or whatever. You know. Should be first looks like to me anyway should be says even if the state takes custody of the children he won't change his mind about sending them to school you know no other way to go you know I mean we tried the other way you know doing it by force you know and in the same rightness way at least we're doing what we believe is right. You know and I mean it ain't pleasant but always later we visited the Shippey home near New Plymouth where four of Sam Shipley's married daughters are taking care of the children who are out of school including an infant who was taken from her nursing mother when she was jailed two weeks ago. If you don't think that's cool then I don't have it. Right. Thank you.
They were designed. I think. In those interviews were videotaped earlier today. For more on the ship the situation and its potential impact on other families in Idaho who might feel the same way about the public schools as the ship is do we hear first tonight from state school superintendent Jerry Evans and from Michael Jacobson the superintendent of schools in New Plymouth. Mr. Evans let me ask you first just as succinctly as you can tell me what the issue is here. I guess the issue is compulsory attendance. The state has a law that requires parents the children be educated either in the public schools in a private or parochial school or in a program of home instruction that has been found comparable by the local board of trustees. And that is the
law and I'm sure that is the force that has caused the New Plymouth school district act as they have. Mr shipper you say he should decide what's good for his kids not you or not me or a local school board. He should decide. What do you say to that. Well there's certainly no claim that the children belong to the state. I would be very much in error if I were to express that. Children do have some rights as children they have the opportunity or should have the opportunity to receive those things that will prepare them for some kind of a useful and productive life. When we go back in some Constitutional language in terms of the stability of republican form of government being dependent upon an informed and educated citizenry. So these concerns about making sure that young people have opportunities to secure a reasonable kind of education go way back in our history.
And that's the state's overriding interest in this matter. That's right. OK. Mr. Jacobson I know you have perhaps more than anyone else are responsible for bringing this this issue to a head so to speak. What law aside here for a moment what the state law says about these children being educated. What is your concern about these particular children and their education. They're not they were not receiving an education and that was my concern. Mr. Shippey has alluded to the fact that he had a home school that the ship easing incorporated the Black Canyon private school. But in fact that was in name only. There was no academic education being taken place in their their homes. They were teaching the children vocational education the same vocations that the chippies themselves are involved in farming land leveling home making things such as that the boys were being taught how to drive tractors and Caterpillar tractors and
the girls were being taught. How to cook and clean and basically what it was. And. Superintendent Evans as stated this is a limiting factor on the children. If they want to go into one of those professions that's fine but if they don't want to go into those professions. They're not capable of going into something else. Also if they don't. Work for the family. I think they'd have a very difficult time holding a job working for someone else when all the exposure they've had is his work with the family. That videotape you just saw a little bit ago that he couldn't have met the standards that are required of him because his education is not adequate. At least that was his interpretation of what you said that met the requirements of good faith to meet the requirements as you see them no question about that. We do have a guideline for exemption from. Educating
their kids in the public schools. We do have another. School in the school district that has met the requirements they've worked with us. We know what they're doing. Their methods of instruction their place of instruction their hours of instruction. They provide us with the testing information which guarantees the progress of their children. And it's not hard to meet some minimum standards. In the Shippey case they weren't willing to work with us and in any respect of course Mr. Evans one person's minimum standards is another person's coersion. One person's adequate education might be land leveling and someone else's might be able to recite Shakespeare. Were there between who decides what what is an adequate education. Again we go back to the law the responsibility for the education of children rests upon the parents to see that they are educated. And that can be satisfied by enrolling them in the public
schools in a private or parochial schools or in that comparable program. And our law is very specific in that in that it says a local board of trustees must determine the program of instruction is comparable with that instruction that's being provided in the local school district. This the subjects include at least those that are commonly taught in the public schools and the duration of time is the same as that that is required in the local public schools so we we have provided a judgement to be made by 5 elected school trustee needs to to make that judgment whether this program that is being provided by the home by the family is comparable with that that is offered in the school. Gentlemen just quickly I would assume that as we sit here tonight this is not what you wanted to have happen or alternately the parents are in jail. The kids still about in school possibly facing being taken away from their parents by the state. There seem to be no winners here.
Mr. Jacobson There are no winners no question about that. And I think the biggest losers of all been kids. Than. They really have done through a troublesome two years. Where theyre. Getting courage a moment. Theyre motivated that school teachers do. To Run. And they get the idea from home. Then academic learning is worthless. I don't want to hear what you're doing. That said I think one of the reasons they really have suffered kids have suffered. We'll come back to get another view of this now from State Representative Bob for you have now been from Larry Olson who heads the Idaho Family Education Association therefore is where the ship is right or are they wrong or are they a little bit of both in this case. Well I think the hippies are right and we have a classic constitutional question here. I might say Superintendent Evans is almost right in the way he quotes the law he says the school board must determine comparability the Idaho codes of
the school board made determine comparability. So it isn't quite a strong word and they don't have to get as involved sometimes as some of them like to and and that is the question and education based on who's standards. And the constitutional aspect and I think it's very very garnering is the religious freedom this family has made this decision based on their religious convictions now not preference but conviction. And these are deep rooted convictions of these people. My constitution says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. And I don't know how anyone of us can step in and judge what their religious conviction and their And the way they want to handle their their family it could be. So in this case the kids or the parents really do. In your view have the right to decide what kind of education their children receive and even if that's no education that's that in this case now this is not typical.
I want to say that there's no doubt if these were kids that were running wild had appeared before this judge and been in trouble and been on probation and had problems. I would stand behind them 100 percent. I think children are being educated and I want you to make that distinction in a moment but let's talk about this case in this case the parents in your view do have this right and responsibility right now Mr. Shipley tells me that he does want his children to learn to read and he will teach them to read because he thinks it's vital that they learn to read Scripture. That's part of their life and they must learn to read Scripture. He needs them to learn to figure he they have to learn math because they help him on land level and they have to learn to read grade stakes they have to know how much to cut and to fail and that's vital to him. They need to know the metric system and using wrenches and tools. And this is what he shared with me that you know my kids have to know all these things and I will teach him just in just in a word or two in this case the parents have a right as you see it that is superior to the right that the state has have as Mr. Evans articulated earlier to have an informed educated citizen right. I know
you of you've talked to your children at home in the past. Yes I have. And you sympathize with the shippers. I think I do. I'm not well acquainted with the case but what little I do know it appears that they're getting a lot of experiential learning which I'm I'm very much in favor of the I would like to say that this is not a typical case of home schooling problems and my work has been in the home schooling movement in public but how is it not typical. Well I think some of the statements that have come out that they do not have an approved program has raised some questions which will affect us in our organization and that is who decides what's approved and what isn't. Mr Evans says at the local school board does this my question in this case is what kind of precedent is it going to set for a school board to determine the compare ability of education in this case as compared to what they're going to have to put in as effort in determining compare ability in other cases in the state. Because we have hundreds in the state.
Hundreds of parents and large families are teaching their children. All right. Well how did it work in your particular case did you go to the school board and say this is what we're planning to do and they approved it. We studied our rights before we did this and we informed the school board that we were going to do this we did not ask permission and as a vital point. We made this decision on our own we did not ask permission we just inform them that we were going to do it. We did provide a good education for our children and the school board was cooperative. I still question in my mind how much. Real effort was put into determining the compare ability in this case that we're talking about today however the did the school board go out and see them leveling the land and using the math and the metric system. Did they really be Turman just how much experience or learning is a value as compared to what we would call classroom teaching. I maintain that there is a there's a strong comparison between the two.
OK Ill put up my last post for one more question I would assume that you were upset by the fact that these boat folks are in jail over there. Not really because they don't seem to be too upset. I offered my assistance ask what I could do and he said Well really nothing. And I guess I'm frustrated that they weren't willing to take some action and I think like the prosecutor said the key is in their hand but they they just simply are sitting there they won't. They will ask for help or they won't appeal the decision. And so there's really nothing anybody can do but wait until they're ready to take some action. I would support them I suspect that if they did. But there's really nothing to do until they're ready to ask for help. And so open it up and bite you gentlemen to get back in. Every structure is appropriate. Let me go back first to Mr. Jacobson Strawson raises the question of what the local school board did to see whether there was an adequate or inadequate education in this case what did the school board do.
They only contact the school board had was through me. I was their representative going out to the. To the location of the. Wright Canyon school. And as I stated earlier. The response from the ship BS was it's none of your business. When I tried to question what was going on out there. They made no effort in fact they refused to provide any information for us to make an. Evaluation of compare ability. Therefore the only evaluation that could be made is by my observations of what was taking place the day I visited there. Well let's go to the heart of what seems to be the part of the controversy here as I see it anyway. Who decides what is an adequate education. Mr Evans you've obviously said the school board decides based on based on what kind of grade you're basically mark the criteria that the school board must use is what's going on in that local school district. There we do not have a stated that the set of criteria that any one of these home instruction or home school programs must meet.
The law simply provides the opportunity for those who wish to educate their children in that third option. The opportunity to present to the school board sufficient information so they can make the judgement that it's a comparable program and you will find a number of school boards in our state that have been very willing to work with parents and parents are very willing to work with the school boards as well. And when they are satisfied that the program of instruction is reasonably comparable the subjects that are commonly taught in those of the classes that we're talking about arithmetic and reading you know there's really no argument about those those classes that are commonly taught are being taught and the duration of time is about the same as in the school district. Those boards have been willing to say Fine what's wrong with that. Mr. Forester Mr. Olson Well I I guess I have a little problem when I look at the public school system and look at the figures from the National. Department of Education that we're wasting time using a lot of time that should be devoted to the public school
system the children that are in that school. When we have 12 percent illiteracy functional illiteracy rate when a third of our kids are dropping out of high school because of problems and that aren't being solved there. Now here's a family. Raising children to be good citizens who will not accept welfare who are now are asking for nothing they're not going to be a burden on society. They're functional and yet we spend our time worrying about them trying to mind their business. They'll never be lawbreakers they have a good record. And yet we're letting these kids fail in school and not paying attention to those that that are in the school building itself. Mr. Furze speaks for a lot of people Mr. Jacobson who feel that way. No doubt about it a lot of people have contacted me with the same views. And it is true that you know I as a ministry to our principals spend a great deal of time on non productive non learning experiences. Our high school principal probably spends 80 percent of his time in just disciplined
truancy related matters. And is no help to the kids that want to be in school. And that's that is a problem with. Compulsory education because you have to address the needs of kids who really don't want to be there. Mr. Olson does. Do you Brian Mr. Evans its contention that the state has some legitimate interest in an informed citizenry that in order to have the society function at the level of functions that people have to be competent at certain things or that there must be some measurement. I think theres no question that every individual has that same responsibility as well as a state. But the question I have is the degree in which the state can step in and determine that comparability based upon standards that are commonly taught in the public system which I think research will prove is not really the best system. And if families can provide an atmosphere
and an educational philosophy that works as it seems to be working in the case of this families families in jail then I think the state ought to be able to look at these situations independently and make a determination as favorable. Well I concur with you Mr. Jacobson so though hes not sure that it is working. I heard him they wouldn't even let him take a look to see whether it was. Well here again you have you have the sanctity of the home and I think this is one of the great issues thats going to be foremost in this nation with regard to education in the home that how much right as a state have or how much right that this superintendent have to walk onto their property and assess their situation without even being invited in the first place. And then you know there may be in some laws broken there I don't know. But it's a it's a it's an agonizing question. The subject is I don't see where any laws were broken with me visiting their house. They didn't threaten to throw me off the property or
anything. And I had. An ass I'd told them that when I was representing the school board and was interested in in what learning was taking place at their place. Basically it seems to me that just viewing that videotape that it comes down these are pretty and these are nice people there zoom they truck that treated you with a kind of courtesy that they treated their people to talk to them today. They just have a very different view of philosophy here. That's tragically what it comes down. That's basically what it comes down to. Mark as we talk about competency and who is who has to employ to force this standard on anybody in a free country I should be able to do what I please when I please as long as I don't step on your turf or violate somebody else's rights I have no right to do that. But and these people get accused if we don't force our method onto them and make them do what we think they should do they may be wards of the state and be a burden to society on welfare. The NEA is advocating in one of their real
resolutions in the public schools to inform parents of the availability of discount buying through federal food stamp programs to assist them to understand its eligibility requirements. We're where advocating teaching kids in public school how to get on welfare. Here is a family that says no thanks we won't take it. And they're teaching their children. We don't live in a welfare state you're going to stand on your own two feet. Mr. Evans Weston there Mark it really troubles me when when we try to inject the national teachers unions resolution into this situation in New Plymouth. Those are simply irrelevant kinds of statements in this particular situation. What troubles me more than anything is we have a very uncomfortable set of circumstances for a number of us. But we are attempting to follow the law as it has been provided by our own legislature in this state. What troubles me even more is if these folks who appear to be good people I don't discount that at all. But if these folks sit out that six months jail
sentence. And then return to their homes and have their children with them again. The law has not been changed unless a legislature chooses to do so. And again if it comes to the attention of that school board the children of school age are not being educated in one of the three surveys until years and then you go right back when they're required to file a petition with the court again should we change the law mister for I you know I tried last time and will probably try again. I think we we must look at this. We shouldn't we shouldn't change the law in your view. I think it's a reasonable law. I think there are some tough judgments that have to be made. I happen to have a lot of faith in local school boards I think those people who are elected locally by the people who live there have the opportunity to make the most reasonable judgments. Well I'm sure they'll be more talking about it I wish we had more time to talk about it Mr. Evans. Mr. Jacobson thank you so much for joining us tonight represented for you Mr. Olson thank you Joe. That is our time for tonight will be back tomorrow. My workouts.
Funding for Idaho reports is provided by the Friends of 4 10 and 12. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by a grant from the laurel Moore coming him foundation. It has been a wonderful experience and we're looking forward to working
together from different areas in the years ahead in just a word or two any words of wisdom for the next speaker of the house. As the senator just pointed out I think that we can never forget that there is great opportunity for you in this process. The best ideas haven't been thought of yet. I hold great hopes for the future and wish the best for the next speaker of the house. Thank you we're going to have to leave it there we're out of time thank you Senator Mitchell. Mr. Speaker thank you. Senator Steen. And that's all for tonight. We'll be back here tomorrow night. Other news permitting with a look at the Northwest power Council's hearings on fish mitigation. I'm Jane McNeil. Good night. This program is produced by id TV which is solely responsible for its content. Funding for the reporters as provided by friends of Channel 4 incorporated and the
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Idaho Reports
Judicial Pay and Home Schooling
Producing Organization
Idaho Public Television
Contributing Organization
Idaho Public Television (Boise, Idaho)
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Episode Description
In the first episode of Idaho Reports the issue of judicial salaries is discussed. The guests on this episode are retiring Judge Andrew Schwam, State Representative Mack Neibaur who is on the Joint Budget Committee, State Senator Bruce Sweeney who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Lloyd Webb who is a former judge. Both judges on this program either retired or are retiring because they can't afford to be judges because of how little judges get paid. In the second episode of Idaho Reports the case of the Shippy family is discussed. Sam Shippy and his brothers violated a state law by not sending their children to either a public school or an approved private or homeschool. In this episode the guests are: Idaho school superintendent Jerry Evans, Michael Jacbsen the school superintendent for the town of New Plymouth, State Representative Robert Forrey, and Larry Olsen who is with the Idaho Family Education Association.
Series Description
Idaho Reports is a talk show featuring conversations with panels of experts about Idaho politics.
Copyright Date
Asset type
Talk Show
Public Affairs
Politics and Government
Copyright 1984
Media type
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Director: Eisele, Ted
Director: Rye, Clayton
Director: Hagenlock, Al
Executive Producer: McNeil, Jean
Guest: Schwam, Andrew
Guest: Neibaur, Mack
Guest: Sweeney, Bruce
Guest: Webb, Lloyd
Guest: Evans, Jerry
Guest: Jacobsen, Michael
Guest: Forrey, Robert
Guest: Olsen, Larry
Host: Johnson, Marc
Interviewee: Shippy, Sam
Interviewee: Eells, Shelley
Producer: Reichert, Bruce
Producing Organization: Idaho Public Television
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Idaho Public Television
Identifier: 174.0 (Idaho PTV Tape #)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 01:00:00?
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Chicago: “Idaho Reports; Judicial Pay and Home Schooling,” 1984-01-01, Idaho Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 20, 2024,
MLA: “Idaho Reports; Judicial Pay and Home Schooling.” 1984-01-01. Idaho Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Idaho Reports; Judicial Pay and Home Schooling. Boston, MA: Idaho Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from