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Why Our ISAT Scores Don’t Go Up

Pin the tail shadowThis 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. 

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Licensing and Teacher Shortages

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.

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Missing: Textbooks

Trehal, Clayton headshot cropped400

Clayton Trehal  has been an educator for 19 years and an administrator for 7,

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.
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Let’s pay Idaho lawmakers like 1st year teachers

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.

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Quick Reference: House and Senate emails for 2020 Legislative Session

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.

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Time to remind Idaho’s Legislature of the Master Educator Premium failure

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.

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The Idaho Legislature owns making “College” the newest dirty word in the Gem State

Levi B Cavener

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