Category Archives: Tiered Certification

Boise Weekly features Cavener regarding charter demographic data

citizen_levicavenerI don’t know about the caricature, but the interview is pretty darn good.  It’s worth checking out.

A snippet from the Boise Weekly article:

Teaching is a passion. Teaching students with disabilities is doubly so. Levi Cavener, an instructor at Vallivue High School in Caldwell, has been a special education instructor for five years. As an undergraduate at the University of Idaho, he spent time abroad through the Camp Adventure program, exploring Europe with children whose parents were serving in the military. One child lost a parent during Cavener’s time in the program and he described others as “genuinely alone,” not hearing from parents for weeks on end. Those experiences helped ignite his passion for education.

 

 

Lunacy 2.0: Tiered Licensure = Props 1 & 2 That We Already Rejected

Does it feel like Deja vu in the education world lately? It should because the proposed Tiered Licensure includes many of elements of the now defunct “Luna Laws.”

Idahoans have already heard this sales-pitch before.  See, voters told the state they didn’t want things like this when they rejected props 1, 2, and 3.

Tiered Licensure is an attempt to rebrand Luna’s Props 1 and 2.  Here’s a reminder from State Impact Idaho on just what those laws were calling for:

  • District superintendents, school administrators, and teachers get an annual evaluation. At least 50 percent of it must be based on measurable student growth. Teachers’ and principals’ evaluations must include parent input.
  • Principals can decide which teachers come to their schools.
  • Bonuses are available for student academic growth measured by statewide standardized tests given each spring. Bonuses would go to all administrators and teachers at a school with a certain amount of improvement in scores.All teachers and administrators at a school could get a bonus if the school’s average score on the spring test is in the top 50 percent of schools statewide.
  • Local school boards will create systems by which teachers and administrators can get bonuses based on other performance measures such as graduation rates, advanced placement classes taken and parental involvement.
  • Teachers can get bonuses for working in hard to fill positions. At least every two years the State Board of Education will determine which positions should be considered ‘hard to fill’ and rank them based on need. Local boards can choose from the state board’s list which positions are hardest to fill in their districts.
  • If a district can’t find a qualified teacher for a hard to fill position it can use some of the bonus money to train a teacher for the position.
  • A district can designate up to 25 percent of its teachers to get bonuses for working extra hours in leadership roles. Those could include activities like peer mentoring, curriculum development, grant writing and earning a “Master Teacher” designation.

Don’t those recommendations sound familiar?  They should because many of the proposed rules under tiered licensure use almost word-for-word language in the rules. The last bullet point, regarding a “Master Teacher” is particularly telling of the connection between Props 1 & 2 and the current Tiered Certification proposal.

Heidi-Knittel-for-Senate-1Luckily, it seems that at least a few notables are listening to citizens’ displeasure this time around.  Heidi Knittel, a candidate for Idaho’s Senate seat District 12, also sees between the lines.  She writes on her website:

“Tiered Licensure,” one of the 20 recommendations by Governor Otter’s Task Force, smells a lot like Proposition 2, the soundly defeated “Luna Laws” merit-pay system. There are other similarities. Once again, with the Task Force recommendations, educators, parents and students have been cut out of the Legislative process. Once again, Stakeholders have been silenced.

As someone who advocates in the schools, on behalf of children with special education needs, Tiered Licensure befuddles me. Any educator evaluation system that links career advancement, including pay, to test-based, student performance, simply cannot work. Since the inception of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1990, children with disabilities have been given the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment,  with mainstream integration being the most optimal. This means that children with cognitive challenges and other learning disabilities are often in the mainstream classroom, working at their own pace, sometimes with assistive devices. It is unlikely that most of these “special needs” kids will place very highly on an academic test that is being used to determine their teacher’s salary. I am also baffled that “ESL” populations did not (apparently) come into consideration when Tiered Licensure became a recommendation. How can these students possibly be lumped into measurement device along with the rest of the mainstream class. Another, even more nuanced, question to consider is, “What defines student achievement”? Is it subject mastery? Is it overall student growth? And if so, what defines “student growth”?

Heidi’s correct.  Tiered Licensure is an attempt to rebrand Luna’s Props 1 and 2.  An attempt to tie standardized tests scores from minority populations such as special education and English Language Learners is particularly inappropriate for both the students and the teachers as it might create an additional barrier that would scare away an otherwise talented instructor from working with these populations.

We already rejected the Luna Laws.  Not just by a little bit.  Idahoans don’t want these policies in their schools.  Yet, Tiered Licensure attempts to bring back baggage that Idahoans have clearly already kicked over the ledge.

A different name, with the same luggage, does not a better legislation package create.

success memeIf you haven’t already, please take the time to add your name to a petition calling on the State Board of Education to reject this proposal.

Tying a teachers certification, compensation, and evaluation to standardized test scores is bad for students, parents, teachers, administrators, and schools.

Particularly for minority student populations, we need to be creating incentives for teachers to work with the hardest students; this proposal does just the opposite by scaring talented instructors away from the toughest youth due to fear that their paychecks, employment, and teaching credential could be impacted.

 

 

 

 

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.

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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!

Idaho Teachers: Take Your Bribe and Settle Down

ui_sealThe Board of Education recently sent out an open letter to Idaho’s educators regarding the new Tiered Teacher Certification proposal.

The letter flatly admits that Idaho’s teachers aren’t compensated anywhere near where they should be (true), but then argues that the only way Idaho legislators would find a raise to be palatable is to move to a tiered teacher certification system (false).

A few things to point out here: a tiered certification system is a completely separate topic than teacher compensation. The attempt to conflate the two different items as being one and the same is deceptive, at worst, and misleading, at best.

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Idaho Dept. of Ed: We know the SBAC might not be valid, but insist that it is tied to certification and compensation anyways

SDE logoRecently, I inquired to ISDE’s Director of Assessment and Accountability about Idaho’s recent decision to give the SBAC to sophomores this year instead of juniors; I thought this decision was problematic due to the fact that the SBAC includes questions from 11th grade Common Core Standards in both English Language Arts and Mathematics.

However, I was shocked during this exchange when the Director told me that the decision was due to the fact the state was worried students wouldn’t take the test seriously, and they didn’t want their data set tainted…because, you know, then the results wouldn’t be valid.

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Value Added Model (VAM) and Proposed Tiered Licensure: Are SpEd Students and Their Teachers Valued?

“For movement to a Professional Certificate and
maintenance of a Professional Certificate: At least three
assessments must be used in demonstration of a
teacher’s student achievement. Of those three, the Idaho
Reading Indicator [IRI] and the Statewide standards
achievement test must be included as applicable. Student
Learning Objectives, including pre and post assessment
for student learning must be included for non-tested (SBA
IRI) subjects. Other measures shall be chosen at the
district level, selected from the attached list. The majority
of student achievement evaluation shall be based on
student growth” (58).

That’s what the proposed rule change requires for an educator to move from a residency certificate to a professional certificate, or for an educator to maintain a professional certificate and not be stripped of that certification and be placed on a quasi-probationary contingent certificate.

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