My Letter to the State Board Regarding Certification Rule Change.

Below is the letter I sent to the Board regarding TIERED LICENSURE PROPOSAL FOR STATE RULES.

According to the new rules, an administrator’s evaluation has the potential to impact your teaching certification.  This is particularly true for new teachers.

Remember, we only have 20 days remaining to contact the board and let them know what you think!

Please cc me on any emails you send to the board regarding this policy change. I would like to publish fellow educator’s viewpoints.

The Board’s email is board@osbe.idaho.gov

My email to cc is levibcavener@gmail.com.

My letter,  in full, is below.

Idaho State Board of Ed,

I’m writing you in opposition against the proposed Tiered Rule change voted on last night.

I am a special education teacher in Caldwell, Idaho. I am concerned about this change for a variety of reasons,  but let me start with a reason specific to the population I work with.

Part of this rule change will rely on an evaluation using student growth. If my district chose to use standardized test data (SBAC) to determine student growth I would effectively be labeled as a failing teacher.

That is because by statistical definition this minority student population is unlikely to demonstrate growth (when assessed by a standardized tool like the SBAC) in comparison to other student populations.

This principle also holds true for any teacher serving other minority student populations including English Language Learners,  migrant students, and particularly educators working in alternative schools.

I am frightened such policy will scare educators away from working with these students as not only their employment, but their certification is on the line.

That’s the exact opposite of the policy we need to be creating; we need to be encouraging the best teachers to be working with these groups.

Second,  I am very concerned about stripping the power to revoke a teacher’s certification away from the Idaho Standards Commission and place it in the hands of an administrator in the form of an evaluation that may lead to a non – renewed certificate.

The Idaho Standards Commission has been a model arbiter in ignoring individual bias, grievances, and predispositions whem determining if a teacher has done something so egregious as to strip licensure away from the individual.

For example,  recently there was a case involving a teacher from Dietrich Idaho who was referred to the Standards Commission because he was teaching Biology curriculum in a Biology classroom.

Some of the content-specific vocabulary included in the lesson offended the community he lives in.

Fortunately,  the Standards Commission cleared him because the Commission,  made up partially by real teachers, understands that while the community is free to provide input,  teaching sanctioned curriculum out of a state approved textbook in no way constitutes an act so egregious as to strip licensure;  on the contrary, the teacher was doing what he gets paid to do!

Can you imagine if this educator’s licensure, instead, was in the hands of a single administrator!

While I would like to hope community politics wouldn’t creep into an evaluation,  I am less than confident that it won’t.

Finally, I am worried about the appeal process. In this case, a teacher is guilty until proven innocent, when it should be just the opposite.

That’s because a teacher’s reputation is at stake. While an educator may eventually be cleared, his or her reputation will be eternally tarnished through the process.

This is wrong. Idaho has taken much criticism as of late for “beating up on teachers.” Please, show teachers you are our advocates, much like we are student’s advocates, and vote no on the proposed rule change.

Feel free to contact me.

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