Author Archives: Levi B Cavener

Let’s pay Idaho lawmakers like 1st year teachers

Idaho lawmakers have a pretty good gig going for them in terms of their compensation for a part-time gig.  In fact, the current payout for the 2020 year is $18,415, plus health insurance and PERSI (Idaho’s pension system).

Last year, lawmakers were at their posts inside the State Capitol Building for just 74 days. That equates to $248.85 per day. Not bad huh? And last year went longer than most.

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Quick Reference: House and Senate emails for 2020 Legislative Session

All signs are pointing to a very busy 2020 legislative session for education. Below are the emails for the House and Senate committee members.

Contact them often during the session, especially if troublesome bills emerge in their committees.

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Time to remind Idaho’s Legislature of the Master Educator Premium failure

I know it’s been awhile since you thought about the Master Educator Premium program. In fact, if you’re like me, you probably would rather have a root canal than think about that catastrophic failure of the Idaho Legislature’s making ever again.

Unfortunately, I need you to think about it a little bit more. But, I promise I only need a a few minutes of your time. That’s because the Idaho Legislature is about to kick off, and the only way to change this program for the better is with your help.

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The Idaho Legislature owns making “College” the newest dirty word in the Gem State

Levi B Cavener

By Levi B Cavener 

There are lots of reasons to be frustrated with post-secondary education in the Gem State, starting with tuition that has ballooned astronomically in proportion to inflation.

In fact, as IdahoEdNews reported, tuition costs are up 34% since 2010, even though inflation was only 13%. That’s a steep 21% increase even when adjusted for inflation. So, what gives? Continue reading

2019 Reviewed and 2020 Previewed: A Teacher’s Perspective

Levi B Cavener

By Levi B Cavener

The twenties are almost upon us. And while this decade will no doubt be different than the “Roaring 20’s” a century ago, perhaps there are some lessons to learn by looking to the past.

That time period, like today, was defined by the absence of large scale war in our country and the world. Unions were in decline much as they are today. And the economy was on sound footing similar to a decade of continuous GDP growth as of today.

But the end of that decade was marked by Black Tuesday, a stock market crash that ushered in the next decade of economic free-fall and depression that crippled the nation for years. And while one would hope that the United States and Idaho are not on the verge of another recession to rival 2008, the fault lines are becoming visible. Continue reading

Master Educator Premium – Audio from Meetings / Documents

The State Board of Ed sent me a significant amount of materials pertaining to the development of the Mahster Educator Premium program.  Attached are all the materials they sent me.

Obviously, I have not had time to look at each file.  If you find anything worth interest during your examination please let me know at levibcavener@gmail.com.

Unfortunately, you cannot create “folders” in wordpress, so the files are kind of a mess, but they are all there.  Enjoy perusing! Continue reading

It Doesn’t Have to be This Way: Inside Idaho Teachers’ Shopping Carts

As you do your grocery shopping this week, take a stroll over to the school supply section.  It is easy to the spot the teachers over there.  They usually don’t have any kids with them, but their shopping carts are filled with pencils, paper, and markers up to the limit set for the sale of each item allowed by the store.

These are the same teachers that make up Idaho’s working poor and have little to no disposable income.  But yet, here they are buying in bulk during the sales so that they will have the materials they need for their classrooms. Continue reading

Guest Post – What is the Idaho Way?

By Joanne Holtz

Joanne Holtz

Representative Barbara Ehardt and twenty-seven of her fellow Republican members of Idaho’s House of Representatives recently sent a letter to Boise State University’s incoming president Dr. Marlene Tromp, encouraging her to eliminate specific diversity programs currently offered by the university. The representatives provided two rationales—increased tuition for BSU students and adherence to the “Idaho way”—as legitimate reasons for eliminating these specific programs. The tone of their message came across more as informing Dr. Tromp of how she should do her job than from a legitimate concern for all of Boise State’s students.

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When an Idaho Charter School Doubles as Church

Thomas Jefferson Charter School is located in Caldwell, Idaho with a mission statement of creating “virtuous citizen leaders.”   However, Thomas Jefferson is also home to the congregation of Wellsprings Church.

Idaho’s charter schools are public schools bound to the same laws, codes, and regulations of any other school and government entity.  The entanglement between a public school’s facility hosting a religious event is worth an examination. Continue reading

Idaho’s teachers are the new working poor

Levi B Cavener

Idaho delayed implementation of raising base salary for Gem State educators to $40,000 this year.  Instead, Governor Little lobbied to raise it to only $38,500 with a promise to reaching the $40,000 benchmark next year.

And although much has been made of increasing base salaries of Idaho’s teachers through the tiered licensure initiative, recent work by the Idaho Education Association showed that when adjusted for inflation, Idaho’s teachers have actually lost 6.9% of their compensation when adjusted for inflation in comparison to ten years ago.  We are losing ground, not gaining it.  

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