Will they Respond?

By Levi B Cavener

why-you-no-replyDuring last year’s legislative session I sent dozens of emails to various state representatives and senators.

I understand that the session is a marathon of sorts with in incredible amount of work to be accomplished in a very short period of time.  I also get that during this time legislators are inundated with phone calls and emails from citizens across the state.

In other words, I get that they’re busy.  Yet, I was flabbergasted when I didn’t receive a single response from a single representative or senator.  None.  Zip.

The only exception to this was a series of meetings I scheduled personally with Sen. McKenzie, Representative Crane, and Representative Collins.  Yet, even when I met with them personally in the capitol building, it was apparent they had not read or received any of my emails.

So today I took it upon myself to send out another huge batch of emails to every single sitting representative and senator on the education committees regarding my concern for the Value Added Model (VAM) and tiered teacher certification for special education students and other vulnerable student populations.   I also contacted my district representatives and senator since I am their constituent.

Edit:  I also decided to include members who sit on the career ladder/tiered licensure committee; I am aware that many of these members are not elected.  However, part of the responsibility of accepting a nomination to sit on this committee involved the commitment to correspond with other stakeholders.

It’s a lot of people; it’s a lot of emails.  41 by my count.  In fact, here is every person I contacted:

Senator  Curt  McKenzie (R)

Representative  Brent  J.  Crane (R)

Representative  Gary  E.  Collins (R)

Representative  Reed  DeMordaunt (R) 

Representative  Pete  Nielsen (R) 

Representative  Paul  Shepherd (R)  

Representative  Richard  Wills (R)  

Representative  Linden  Bateman (R)  

Representative  Judy  Boyle (R)   

Representative  Lance  Clow (R)  

Representative  Terry  Gestrin (R)   

Representative  Steven  Harris (R)  

Representative  Wendy  Horman (R)   

Representative  Ron  Mendive (R)   

Representative  Julie  VanOrden (R)   

Representative  Patrick  McDonald (R)  

Representative  Donna  Pence (D)   

Representative  Hy  Kloc (D)  

Representative  Ilana  Rubel (D)  

Senator  John  Goedde (R) 

Senator  Dean  Mortimer (R) 

Senator  Monty  Pearce (R)  

Senator  Russell  Fulcher (R)  

Senator  Bob  Nonini (R)   

Senator  Steven  Thayn (R)   

Senator  Jim  Patrick (R)   

Senator  Cherie  Buckner-Webb (D)   

Senator  Janie  Ward-Engelking (D)   

Representative Marc Gibbs (R)

Rod Lewis – SBOE – Chair of committee

Tom Luna – Superintendent of Idaho Ed.

Geoffry Thomas – Superintendent of Madison School District

Rob Winslow, Exec. Dir., Idaho Association of School Administrators

Penni Cyr, President, Idaho Education Association

Karen Echeverria, Executive Director, Idaho School Boards Association

Wayne Freedman, Idaho School Boards Association, Council, ID

Rod Gramer, President, Idaho Business for Education

Christina Linder, Associate Dean, Idaho State University College of Education

Zach Wesley, VP Legislation, Idaho PTA

Paula Conley, ELA instructional Coach, Canfield Middle School, Coeur d’Alene School District

Brian Smith, Teacher, Sandpoint High School, Lake Pend Oreille School Dist.

So I’m interested in two things by sending out this latest batch of emails:

1)  What will be the response of these elected officials to concerns about the value added model to special education students and other vulnerable student bodies?

2)  How many (if any) will actually respond.

I will be keeping tabs on who responds, how long it takes, and who doesn’t respond, and will do a follow-up to this thread in a month or so.

These are our elected officials and they are accountable to us, their constituents.  This will be an interesting experiment to keep an eye on.  Stay tuned.







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