Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tiered Licensure: One Stop Shop for What You Need to Know

Slide1Idaho has proposed a Tiered Licensure rule that potentially ties a teacher’s license to student test scores and local evaluations. To bribe teachers to accept this bad idea, an ‘increased’ teacher salary would also be tied to these evaluations. Tiered licensure is bad for kids, taxpayers, and teachers.

PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION IN OPPOSITION TO THIS BAD POLICY!

Below is a quick synopsis of reasons why this is poor legislation, along with resources to better educate yourself and distribute to others.

Continue reading

My Take: Jones vs. Ybarra Debate at College of Idaho

The debate this evening in Caldwell was well attended, and had plenty of good questions and responses.  Some notables were in attendance including former Idaho Supt. Marilyn Howard.

I’ll write an analysis of my thoughts tomorrow.  For tonight, I’ll let the candidates speak for themselves.

Note: I wrote this in real time during the debate. I apologize if the writing isn’t quite as well thought out as my normal posts, but it is pretty tough to listen, type, and synthethize on the fly. Continue reading

Ybarra and Jones Spar 3 Times this Week

JonesYbarraThis week will be the first time candidates for Idaho’s Superintendent of Public Instruction will be forced to come face to face in a public forum.  Better yet, we will get three doses of it as the candidates spar it out on stage across Idaho.

I encourage you to take the time to write your questions to the moderators of the debates.  One of these candidates will lead Idaho’s students and teachers for the foreseeable future; let’s make sure we know their viewpoints and opinions before election.

It will be interesting to see what issues unite and divide these candidates, and how they share their logic with the audience on the stage.  I will be analyzing the debates throughout the week to see what issues the candidates go on record about.

In particular, the public wants specifics on Common Core, SBAC, and tiered licensure.  We’ll have to wait and see what surprises await in the upcoming debates.

I will appear at the Caldwell debate (see info below), and I sent this question to the moderator regarding my concern over tiered teacher certification:

I am a special education teacher in Caldwell.  I am concerned about tying special education student’s SBAC standardized test scores to my certification and compensation under the proposed Tiered certification model.

Many of these students have behavior difficulties that impede the validity of their responses. For example, I work primarily with students who have emotional disturbances and and autism spectrum disorders that have little motivation to take the exam seriously,  and have bluntly told me of their intention to blow off the exam just like they have in the past.

Is it fair to hold special education teachers to the same standards in the tiered certification proposal considering their students are a very different population unlikely to produce proficient results?

I encourage everyone to take the time to pen a question of your own concern regarding the candidate’s viewpoints on education topics.

IdahoEdNews reported on the dates and times the duo can be seen debating:

  • Tuesday, 7 p.m., Canyon Ridge High School, Twin Falls. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., seating first-come, first-served. Debate will run one hour, with the exchange moderated by Times-News editor Autumn Phillips. Submit questions in advance via email to aphillips@magicvalley.com.
  • Thursday, 7 p.m., Langroise Center, College of Idaho, Caldwell. Sponsored by the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce. Submit questions in advance to thardin@caldwellchamber.org.
  • Friday, 11:45 a.m., Grove Hotel, Boise. Sponsored by the City Club of Boise, and moderated by Boise State University professor emeritus Jim Weatherby. Attendees will be able to submit questions to the candidates via the moderator. Registration deadline is noon Wednesday. Cost is $18 for members and $25 for nonmembers, which includes lunch. Listeners who do not want lunch may register in advance for $5. Registration is available online.

I hope everyone will take the time see see what the candidates stand for.

Rep. Crane: Idaho teachers haven’t talked to me regarding tiered licensure…except we have. Here’s the proof.

Sometimes you just can’t make this sort of stuff up. Today just happened to be one of those days when I encountered this little tidbit courtesy of Idaho’s Representative Crane in the Idaho Press Tribune:

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See, here’s the problem: I contacted Rep. Crane, along with about 3 dozen lawmakers, repeatedly regarding the task force recommendations starting all the way back in June. Continue reading

Levi Cavener Featured on Podcast Hosted by The Great Education Struggle

wpid-img_41539946199072.jpegThis Saturday the host of The Great Education Struggle blog and podcast , Isaac Moffet, was gracious enough to open up his studio for an interview on how Common Core is impacting special education students.

It was a pleasure to take part in describing the impacts I see of Common Core and related policy in my own classroom.

Also of note, Travis Manning, a candidate for District 10A in Idaho’s legislature and Director for the Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho, was kind enough to join us to share impacts he sees of Common Core in the general education classroom, particularly for special education students who have been mainstreamed into his environment.

The interview covered lots of juicy topics including common core, the SBAC, tiered certification, and the influence of politics in Idaho’s educational system.

Please check it out!