This week, the House Education Committee just voted to abolish our state standards in schools linked to English, Math, and Science. Not amend these, not tweak, but abolish all of them! Their reason: Our ISAT scores that are based on these don’t seem to be moving much. I agree that our test scores are pretty lackluster, but something important to consider: Is it the standards or the tests? Many of these numbers work on the premise that the ISAT, our standard achievement exam, is an accurate measure of what is going on in schools, but is it? Since I’ve administered this exam several times, I’d like to add some information to how schools get an ISAT score that may help to illustrate the problem.
Will the accountability measures in HO523 make veteran pay out of reach for many veterans, or will schools and districts find a way to get their teachers to attain these measures?
Because the Bill HO523 for “Veteran Teacher” salaries has cleared the House and is now heading to the Senate, I thought I would take a moment to see how the bill would work at my school in order to see how many of my teachers will count as ‘Veterans’ and how the bill will help me improve my school.
Remember this? It seemed like such a good idea at the time!
If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that on last week, Governor Little just unveiled at $225 million dollar teacher pay increase to help make our state more competitive in the teacher pay department. I support Governor Little, and while that sounds great, as soon as I looked at the details I realized that this bill-like the advanced portfolios for expert teachers-is a disaster. If we pass this bill, with one stroke of pen we will ensure that every “advanced” teacher on this payscale will have either a 3 or 4 (on a 1-4 point scale) on all 22 components of their annual evaluations.
Last week, the House Education Committee decided to abolish the teacher licensing system at the same time it abolished all state standards. If it stands, this move would virtually let anyone teach anything in the state without having to go through the arduous process of getting licensed to be a teacher and getting their subject endorsements. At first glance, this move may seem crazy, but is it? In truth, we actually do have a licensing problem in this state and it greatly contributes to the teacher shortages you hear a lot about in the news.
As I write this, another legislative session has begun, The governor is armed with his education task force’s suggestions, a senator has proposed to raise the sales tax for education in exchange for stripping districts of their ability to run supplemental levies, and the house has just passed a bill to limit re-voting on school district supplemental levies. In other words, things are normal in that we have an educational task force and legislators are busy in their usual task of finding ways to reduce ways to fund schools. In this background, though, what no one is talking about is the fact that the majority of our schools don’t have textbooks and that this is a monumental issue affecting the quality of our education.
Idaho lawmakers have a pretty good gig going for them in terms of their compensation for a part-time gig. In fact, the current payout for the 2020 year is $18,415, plus health insurance and PERSI (Idaho’s pension system).
Last year, lawmakers were at their posts inside the State Capitol Building for just 74 days. That equates to $248.85 per day. Not bad huh? And last year went longer than most.
All signs are pointing to a very busy 2020 legislative session for education. Below are the emails for the House and Senate committee members.
Contact them often during the session, especially if troublesome bills emerge in their committees.
I know it’s been awhile since you thought about the Master Educator Premium program. In fact, if you’re like me, you probably would rather have a root canal than think about that catastrophic failure of the Idaho Legislature’s making ever again.
Unfortunately, I need you to think about it a little bit more. But, I promise I only need a a few minutes of your time. That’s because the Idaho Legislature is about to kick off, and the only way to change this program for the better is with your help.
By Levi B Cavener
There are lots of reasons to be frustrated with post-secondary education in the Gem State, starting with tuition that has ballooned astronomically in proportion to inflation.
In fact, as IdahoEdNews reported, tuition costs are up 34% since 2010, even though inflation was only 13%. That’s a steep 21% increase even when adjusted for inflation. So, what gives? Continue reading
By Levi B Cavener
The twenties are almost upon us. And while this decade will no doubt be different than the “Roaring 20’s” a century ago, perhaps there are some lessons to learn by looking to the past.
That time period, like today, was defined by the absence of large scale war in our country and the world. Unions were in decline much as they are today. And the economy was on sound footing similar to a decade of continuous GDP growth as of today.
But the end of that decade was marked by Black Tuesday, a stock market crash that ushered in the next decade of economic free-fall and depression that crippled the nation for years. And while one would hope that the United States and Idaho are not on the verge of another recession to rival 2008, the fault lines are becoming visible. Continue reading