BOISE — Tuesday marks exactly three weeks until Election Day, and politics in the Gem State are starting to heat up.
That was on display during Monday night's governor's debate between Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Paulette Jordan hosted by Idaho Public Television.
Both the candidates made several claims Monday night, but what is fact and what is fiction?
A big topic of conversation in the debate centered around education.
During the conversation between Little and Jordan, a lot of education numbers and rankings were thrown out by the candidates.
But are they accurate? We verify.
In the debate, the candidates first talked about the rate of pay increase for teachers, and the idea about Idaho being last in that category was thrown out.
So, where does Idaho stand?
According to data and estimates collected by the National Education Association, from 2017 to 2018, Idaho saw a 3.6 percent increase in average teacher salary.
That 3.6 percent increase is the largest average bump in teacher pay by percentage in the country. On average, states saw a 1.4 percent increase.
In terms of dollar amount, Idaho teachers got a raise of about $1,700 a year on average.
So KTVB can verify, Idaho is not last in teacher pay rate increases.
A few minutes after the first disagreement on education numbers, Little and Jordan argued some other Idaho rankings.
That included a conversation about where Idaho ranks in average teacher pay.
Jordan said, “even to the rest of the country we're still 50th. We're still last.” And continued on to later say, “even though you think we're trying to get ahead, we may have gotten two steps ahead but we're still at the end.”
Little was adamant that Idaho was not ranked last in the country.
So, is Idaho still last in average teacher pay?
Data from the National Education Association shows that Idaho ranked 43rd in average teacher salary in 2017 at $47,504. That was a jump from being ranked 47th in 2016.
Estimates for 2018 show that Gem State teachers average a little more than $49,000 a year, which ranks higher than 10 other states when it comes to average teacher pay.
So no matter how you look at it, Idaho is not last in teacher pay.
But, Idaho does come in below the national pay average by about $10,000.
Finally, Little claimed during the debate that Idaho leads every state around Idaho in ACT scores.
On that, Little is correct, Idaho's average ACT score is higher than all six bordering states.
According to official 2017 ACT data, Idaho students averaged a composite score of 22.3. That placed Idaho 17th among states and the District of Columbia.
It's important to note though, that only 38 percent of graduates tested for the ACT in Idaho.
In terms of some more rankings in the classroom, earlier in 2018 USA Today reviewed Education Week's Quality Counts 2018 report and ranked Idaho 47th.
The report shows that Idaho has the 11th lowest high school graduation rate, the third lowest public-school spending per pupil, And low rates of early childhood education.
The report identifies that In Idaho, only 30.6 percent of 3- and 4-year olds are enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten, the smallest share of any state.
Currently, Idaho is one of only a handful of states without a publicly funded Pre-K system.