A Letter

In my home state, Idaho, the legislature is considering a bill to approve vouchers for education. As a teacher, and student of history, I composed this letter of opposition to my state senator.

Dear Senator,

Abraham Lincoln struggled through a difficult childhood of hard physical labor and poverty. As a boy in Indiana, school was barely an option. There were ABC schools where Lincoln and other children learned rudimentary literacy. Sadly the teachers knew very little themselves making a real education a forlorn hope.

Childhood friends later reported that Abe’s head was always in a book. If he knew of other available books he would walk for miles to borrow from the community. Unfortunately Lincoln’s father, Thomas Lincoln, viewed reading as laziness, though his stepmother had sympathy for the boy’s self improvement.

As President, Lincoln promoted the Morrill Land Grant Act. This measure authorized establishing universities across the nation. The U of I is one such institution. 

And though he never lived to see the Act materialize, he firmly placed his imprint on American Education.

May we all commit to preserve our public schools and invest in Idaho’s future. 


Gail Chumbley

“The philosophy of the in schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”  Abraham Lincoln.

Chumbley is the author of the two-part memoir, River of January and River of January: Figure Eight. She also has written two stage plays, Clay on the life of Henry Clay and Wold By The Ears examining racism and slavery.

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know. Harry Truman

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