Category Archives: Uncategorized

Veteran Teacher Salary Schedule: Cynicism or Blunder?

 

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Will the accountability measures in HO523 make veteran pay out of reach for many veterans, or will schools and districts find a way to get their teachers to attain these measures?

Because the Bill HO523 for “Veteran Teacher” salaries has cleared the House and is now heading to the Senate, I thought I would take a moment to see how the bill would work at my school in order to see how many of my teachers will count as ‘Veterans’ and how the bill will help me improve my school. 

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Another Colossal Pay Disaster

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Remember this? It seemed like such a good idea at the time!

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that on last week, Governor Little just unveiled at $225 million dollar teacher pay increase to help make our state more competitive in the teacher pay department. I support Governor Little, and while that sounds great, as soon as I looked at the details I realized that this bill-like the advanced portfolios for expert teachers-is a disaster. If we pass this bill, with one stroke of pen we will ensure that every “advanced” teacher on this payscale will have either a 3 or 4 (on a 1-4 point scale) on all 22 components of their annual evaluations. 

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Licensing and Teacher Shortages

Last week, the House Education Committee decided to abolish the teacher licensing system at the same time it abolished all state standards. If it stands, this move would virtually let anyone teach anything in the state without having to go through the arduous process of getting licensed to be a teacher and getting their subject endorsements. At first glance, this move may seem crazy, but is it? In truth, we actually do have a licensing problem in this state and it greatly contributes to the teacher shortages you hear a lot about in the news.

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Why Our ISAT Scores Don’t Go Up

Pin the tail shadowThis week, the House Education Committee just voted to abolish our state standards in schools linked to English, Math, and Science. Not amend these, not tweak, but abolish all of them! Their reason: Our ISAT scores that are based on these don’t seem to be moving much. I agree that our test scores are pretty lackluster, but something important to consider: Is it the standards or the tests? Many of these numbers work on the premise that the ISAT, our standard achievement exam, is an accurate measure of what is going on in schools, but is it? Since I’ve administered this exam several times, I’d like to add some information to how schools get an ISAT score that may help to illustrate the problem. 

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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

Democrats Have Financial Edge in Supt. Election Fundraising

Cindy Wilson. Boise School teacher seeking Democratic nomination

In a surprising twist, Idaho’s Secretary of State reported today that Idaho’s Democratic challenger for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Cindi Wilson has a substantial edge over her GOP opponents.

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El Chapo’s Gem State Money Laundering School Voucher Bill

By Levi Cavener

Cavener_Levi_HeadshotYou wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, had tutilege from a drug cartel’s money launderer while he was drafting the school voucher bill passed by Idaho’s house last week.  A cursory read of the legislation makes it painfully obvious what the proposed law really is: a money laundering scheme.

The goal of money laundering, of course, is to conceal the origin of dollars.  Except, in this case, the origin of the money is painfully obvious and the purpose of the legislation is also equally so.  See, here’s the deal: Article Nine, Section Five of Idaho’s Constitution makes it abundantly clear that the state cannot distribute money to sectarian entities. Continue reading

Ybarra vs Dillon Campaign Finance Disclosures Fuels Speculation, Unknowns

Today was the due date for candidates’ 2017 annual election finance disclosure reports.

View Ybarra’s Return

View Dillon’s Return

And while at first glance there does not appear to be anything too juicy, the absence of some items is the real story.

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Wanted: Jeff Dillon’s Campaign

Wilder Supt. Dillon

You couldn’t blame even a well informed Idaho primary voter for failing to know that Idaho’s incumbent for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has a primary challenge this spring.

Jeff Dillon, Superintendent of Wilder School District, is running against State Superintendent Ybarra in the GOP primary. Or at least that’s what the Secretary of State says. Continue reading

2018 Legislature Education Committee Contact List

The Idaho Legislature’s website makes it inconvenient to locate and message individual members of the education committees by requiring you to navigate to each member’s bio for the address.

Fortunately for you, I have compiled the list for you to use during the session.  You’re welcome!

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