Guest Post: The Potential and Limitations of Technology in Idaho Education

Guest Post by Jeriann Ireland.

The use of technology in the classroom has both the capability of increasing efficiency and accelerating student learning and the potential to become a distraction. As such, technology in education is a pressing issue that teachers, parents, and students feel strongly about. Industry argues that knowledge of how to use technology is important for job-preparedness. Studies demonstrate that too much technology will stunt students’ emotional growth and prevent them from learning how to think. This dichotomy does not necessarily have to be at odds with each itself, but often is when it comes to discussions of funding and curriculum. Continue reading

Idaho Board of Ed:  There are only 374 great teachers in the Gem State

Board of Ed LogoIdaho’s State Board of Education finally guidlines-and-a-review-process for determining Jedi quality master teachers last week.  The report concludes that only 374 teachers in Idaho will qualify for the Master Educator distinction out of an eligible pool of 18,710 educators in Idaho.

This outcome seems to be an outright contradiction to the original intention of establishing a master teacher program which was designed to push many veteran educators closer to the original top salary level proposed during the tiered licensure debate.  In fact, the requirements to receive the Jedi distinction from padawan colleagues is so onerous that the truly excellent teachers will likely spend their already strapped time on their classroom instead of completing yet another pile of paperwork mandated by the state. Continue reading

BYU Idaho shows importance of Blaine amendment in LGBTQ firing

Recently, BYU Idaho Adjunct Professor, Ruthie Robinson, was dismissed from her position in Eastern Idaho.  She alleges that the termination was due to a private Facebook post in which she expressed support for the LGBTQ community.

BYU Idaho, as a private entity, is completely within its right as a private club to establish whatever policies it wants, just like Spanky in the film Little Rascal’s is free to preach gender intolerance at his private “He Man ‘Womun’ Haters Club.” Continue reading

Setting Our Kids Up For Failure: The Lack of Early Childhood Education in Idaho

Guest Post by Jeriann Ireland.

If you listen to local radio or watch local tv programming, you’ve likely seen and heard ads for various organizations advocating for improvement to Idaho’s education system. Some of these groups advocate for higher test standards; some think charter schools will solve the issue; others want to focus on college acceptance rates. Then there are those who want to start at the beginning of a child’s life — early childhood education.

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2016 Idaho Education Reviewed, and 2017 Previewed: A Teacher’s Perspective

My crystal ball was rather cloudy last year. I had predicted that the major focus of the 2016 legislature would focus on taxation, largely by decreasing the highest marginal tax rate for the wealthiest in the Gem State. I thought education would take a backseat.

And while there certainly was discussion of updating Idaho’s tax code, those conversations fizzled like Democrats in their elections this year.

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Coming soon to a school near you Idaho: Charter school cronyism

Screenshot 2016-05-08 at 7.41.23 PM  In the wake of financial scandals in the Gem State’s education world including the multi-million broadband fiasco, citizens have a right to be leery about cozy relationships between government entities and their business partners.

Take, for example, the recent charter school petition Caldwell School District received from Pathways in Education (PIE). From a public records request, that petition stated that PIE would pay California-based Pathways Management Group (PMG), operated by charter entrepreneur Mr. John Hall, to the tune of $127 per student per month for “charter management.”

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With desired enrollment of 300 students and a flexible year-round schedule, that creates a significant contract of $450k for PMG per year. It is unclear what services would be provided for this fee  as many of the services listed such as paying utility bills and purchasing electronics appear to be redundant activities the Caldwell district office already performs. Continue reading

Part 2: Red flags abound in Caldwell’s newest proposed charter school

This is part 2 of a multipart series. I encourage all readers to also view part 1 here.

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Unfortunately, the red flags continue to stack upon the previous five detailed yesterday for Pathways in Education’s (PIE’s) charter application.

Red flag six: The student-teacher ratio is astronomically high for an alternative school.

The budget allocates for only 6 FTE classroom teachers. At an anticipated enrollment of 300 students, that results in a bloated student-teacher ratio of 50 to 1. Fifty to one.

This ratio would be considered much too high for a public school in general; however, for an alternative school in particular in which the focus is on small class sizes and additional interaction time for each individual student, this ratio is obtusely top heavy.

See page 207 for more information.

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