By Levi B Cavener
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.