Category Archives: Legislature 2014

At The Core of The Common Core

by Victoria M. Young

At The Core of “Teaching to The Core”
“The standards emphasize critical thinking and real-world applications of what students learn in math and language.” (Idaho Statesman, Bill Roberts, 3/9/14)

Critical thinking and real-world applications are not ideas that are properties of The Core. These things were the basis of the teaching philosophy of Aristotle and brought into the modern era by many including John Dewey (1933).

And significant research has been done on the topics surrounding what we are now calling “college and career ready” students with The Eight Year Study being particularly significant to our situation today. Continue reading

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Part 3

Something that has gotten little attention from the public or the Task Force is the one line

Good Advice.

Good Advice.

recommendation statement that “the committee supports the efforts of Idaho’s high education institutions to increase and enhance clinical field experiences for pre-service teachers.” That’s it!!!!

This good —no, very, very good — idea could have been made much better and addressed a specifically identified problem if the Task Force had not discounted the importance of the Workforce Issues Affecting Public School Teachers Evaluation Report. Continue reading

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Part 2

By Victoria M. Young

Many have been blinded by this tale of Ugly, Uglier, and Ugliest that we have come to call Common Core. If you missed the showdown at the O.K. Corral, the Common Core Forum at the statehouse, I’ll hit a few points here but encourage you to watch it because the Idaho Task Force recommendations are based, in very large part, on a blind faith in these standards to do miracles.

"It's not a joke, it's a rope, Tuco. Now I want you to get up there and put your head in that noose."

“It’s not a joke, it’s a rope, Tuco. Now I want you to get up there and put your head in that noose.”

First, the award for ugly goes to the people who glorify the virtues of Common Core for bringing “reading and writing correctly” into the curriculum. Those that were schooled under the standards-focused education model, and the narrowing of the curriculum that it produced under Idaho’s first adoption of “higher standards,” probably don’t know that teaching children to read and write correctly used to be THE standard. That’s an ugly fact; we restricted the amount of writing students did. We did harm. But we don’t NEED the Core to return to what we should have been doing all along. Continue reading

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Part 1

By Victoria M. Young

Let’s dive right into the middle of the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education and pull “the bad” to the surface. Let’s get it over with — again.

This should sound familiar; Bad for children. Bad for teachers. Bad for Idaho. Yes, the Luna Laws—Students Come First. They’re back!

The one based on the false premise that changing contract negotiations improves education has already come to the surface through the collaborative efforts of the Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA) and budget writers last year. Voters said no to Prop 1. We wanted to “preserve a teacher’s freedom to speak up on behalf of Idaho’s students.” ISBA, administration, and lawmakers made other plans. And we swallowed that small bite last year without much fuss as teachers’ bargaining was limited. Continue reading

OBJECTION!

By Victoria M. Young

DSC_0300_ppI say potāto; you say potåto. Some say, “blueprint”; others say, “roadmap.” The way Betsy Russell rightly put it, from her perspective at the statehouse, “everybody overall agrees” — at the statehouse —with the 20 recommendations made by Idaho’s Task Force for Improving Education.

Objection; foul; time out!

We learned from the “resounding rejected” of the Students Come First LAWS that process matters. Right? Those laws passed despite demonstrative objections in hearings, on-line, and in the streets. THEN, they were defeated by voters as referendums. That process squandered people’s time and it put Idaho two years behind others in a true improvement process. Continue reading

Are You In on Opting Out?

Levi B CavenerThe new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has been taking a lot of heat during the legislative session recently.  District superintendents recently met with the State Department of Ed to push back against the test, and even a State Senator has been vocal about his opposition to the assessment.

Idahoans for Local Education recently launched an Opt Out movement for SBAC and ISAT in Idaho.  Stephanie Zimmerman, point person on the project, listed the rationale for taking such an action including: Continue reading

2014 Legislature: My Optimistic Glass Half-Empty Reading

Yes an optimist can have a glass half empty.

By Levi B Cavener

Levi B CavenerOn Monday the doors will open to a new legislative session. It will be a cordial reunion in which freshman will try to be seen with the  veterans. In the spirit of bipartisanship, democrats and  republicans will mingle together on the floor while waiting for the Govenor’s speech. There will be an atmosphere of opportunity and hope that has been absent since the Great Recession struck the gem state.

Continue reading