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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An Open Letter and a Petition

Here is the open letter  I sent to every member of the house/senate committee members, the State Board of Education, and the Governor’s office.

Please take the time to sign this petition to help pressure those folks in making reasonable changes to the current Master Educator Premium in order alleviate the current exceptional onerous process of applying which leaves many Jedi quality educators behind.

Sign the petition now!

An Open Letter to the Idaho Legislature, State Board of Education, and Governor’s office.

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A (Better) Response from the State Board of Education Regarding Master Educator Premiums

By Levi B Cavener (Note, the following is intended to be satirical)

Levi B Cavener

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.

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The State Board Can Keep My Blackbelt and The Master Educator Premium

By Levi B Cavener

The State Board has set the end of June for the Gem State’s teachers to submit Master Educator Portfolios in the hopes of earning their blackbelts.  I am hopeful that many teachers in Idaho will be dutifully awarded this distinguishment as those portfolios are evaluated.

But I won’t be one of them.  See, like most teachers I would consider to be Jedi Master quality, I don’t have time to crunch the keyboard for days filling out an enormous application.  Instead, I suspect I am not alone in the Gem State in filling my days full of activities that will actually improve my students’ instruction in lieu of filling out paperwork in hopes of a minor pay bump. 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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