Something that has gotten little attention from the public or the Task Force is the one line
recommendation statement that “the committee supports the efforts of Idaho’s high education institutions to increase and enhance clinical field experiences for pre-service teachers.” That’s it!!!!
This good —no, very, very good — idea could have been made much better and addressed a specifically identified problem if the Task Force had not discounted the importance of the Workforce Issues Affecting Public School Teachers Evaluation Report.
Principals and superintendents told our lawmakers that they need teachers with multiple certifications. If the Task Force had taken the advice of the Workforce Report, which was to use the identified areas of needs as a starting point, AND used a more inclusive process of collecting specific ideas, it is possible they would have discovered an excellent idea once expressed by President John F. Kennedy — grants for educating teachers in identified high demand areas which for Idaho is rural schools needing teachers with multiple certificates. Is that what we want? Or do we want to eliminate more teachers and do the online thing? I thought we said no to that.
Kennedy believed “teachers would profit from a full year of full-time study in their subject-matter fields. Very few can afford to do so.” The funding then proposed was to “begin to make such opportunities available to the elementary and secondary school teachers of this country and thereby accord to this profession the support, prestige and recognition it deserves.”
What we vigilant citizens need to watch for is funding. Will lawmakers put OUR money where our desires are? Should this idea be a priority?
Mentoring programs for new teachers was another good recommendation but the logistics might not work for all schools right now due to limited resources. And what should once again and forever be a big topic of discussion — literacy. Who could argue with improving literacy? Debate the how; yes we should. Are ALL schools prepared for a mastery system to be successful? Or is it just one more good idea that if done badly will cause more harm? Think about it and let your thoughts be known.
And the biggest of “The Good” — restoring operational funding to 2009 levels. Don’t let the legislature put this off to a multi-year approach. Do it in total. If they are holding teachers and students to the highest of expectations now, the system needs to be providing all the necessary resources to get the job done. Anything less is asking to be challenged in the courts. The court costs would be better spent in schools.
People, we need to bring the good things forward as well as stop the lawmakers from doing the type of harm they have done to schools for the last decade and a half. Kids in low-performing schools have suffered the most. The damage was not felt everywhere — that is how inequality is fostered by bad policies.
All kids deserve good policies to come out of this legislative session.
Be heard: Listening Session, January 27, 2014, 3 to 5 PM in the Lincoln Auditorium.