By Levi B Cavener (Note, the following is intended to be satirical)
Executive Director Matt Freeman of the State Board of Education shared a piece in which he suggested that educators need to be better informed of facts regarding Master Educator Premiums. My “teacher-mode” kicked in while reading his editorial, and I have made some revisions to his writing which I have shared below: (Note, the following are my words, not Director Freeman’s. We can only wish the SBE could treat teachers this way).
First, I want to issue the most pleasant of greetings to Idaho’s teachers during this summer. I know this message will find Gem State Educators all across the country taking professional development, university courses, advanced placement training, etc. I appreciate how Idaho leads the nation in its teachers taking unpaid time in order to benefit their students.
I want you to know that the State Board of Education is listening to the conversation and frustration of Idaho’s teachers regarding the Master Educator Premium program which has its first submissions due at the end of this month. We believe leadership starts at the top, which is why SBE President Critchfield has instructed all SBE members and staff to develop a portfolio of their own in order to demonstrate our mastery in leading Idaho’s education system.
We understand that this portfolio has been described as “soul-sucking.” Additionally, we acknowledge that the amount of time necessary to generate this portfolio is far above our initial estimates. We understand that we will be required to work on this document outside of our paid hours, and at the end of the process we are not guaranteed any further compensation.
We further acknowledge that this portfolio will take away time from our duties to the public we serve as well as our families. However, we understand that in order to be empathetic to our most respected clients–Idaho’s teachers–we should have firsthand experience in developing this tool.
Instead of defending the status quo in the face of near unanimous opposition of the current program and calling out individual teachers who brought this problem to our attention, we are instead creating a new committee with the majority made up of actual teachers — not administrators and bureaucrats — to revamp this program. We know that this is the best way to establish trust between the SBE and Idaho’s educators in believing the SBE acts in the best interest of students and teachers, not politicians with budget requests.
State Board President Critchfield wants Idaho’s educators to know that the SBE has every intention of establishing a genuine bridge of collaboration between her office and the educators in the trenches doing exemplary work all across this state. We understand that veteran teachers have shared frustration while working on this portfolio that has made them feel demeaned, unrespected, and worse of all unacknowledged for the fantastic work they do everyday for Idaho’s students.
That is why a priority for the new committee will be to identify ways in which existing documentation already required for Gem State teachers in their evaluation can be utilized to demonstrate mastery of their skill. We believe that this will not only substantially eliminate the onerous amount of time teachers spend on their portfolios, but also be a better indicator of the work they do in their classrooms.
We at the SBE believe that Idaho can become a gem for the rest of the nation, but we know that this requires collaboration between our excellent educators and staff as a foundation for this goal, and we want to do our best to assure Idaho’s teachers we are on their team. Enjoy summer, and blessings to you and your families.
This satire was brought to you by Levi B Cavener, a social studies teacher living in Caldwell, Idaho.