New Bill Seeks to Allow Districts to Dump Common Core in Idaho

Rep. Ronald Nate

Rep. Ronald Nate (R-Rexburg) has introduced a bill that would allow districts to dump Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and replace them with…well that part isn’t quite clear.

The bill doesn’t change the fact that Idaho has adopted CCSS as the state’s content standards. Instead, in a curious workaround, the bill’s text states that if Idaho embraces CCSS, then districts have the prerogative to express their displeasure of that decision by dropping CCSS and replacing it with standards of the local district’s choosing. Continue reading

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

Hearing Aid Draft Bill Surfaces to Help Students and their Families

Representative Llana Rubel is seeking a cosponsor for a bill that would raise the requirements insurance must cover for devices and services related to a hearing impairment.

Unfortunately for many struggling Idaho families, the cost of hearing aides, cochlear implant, and therapies can run into the thousands of dollars, and insurance currently either does not cover or does not entirely cover the cost associated with these.  This leaves many kiddos attending our schools without the supports they need. 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!

Continue reading

Why Pre-K Won’t Happen in Idaho

The Association of Education for Young Children published a new poll last week that leaves no doubt as to where Idahoans stand, in principle, to providing Pre-K services for Idaho’s children.

A summary: eighty percent of parents who have children five and younger support state supported Pre-K, and sixty-six percent of all surveyed registered voters, regardless of having young children, also support the idea.

In other words, it would seem that even in the conservative Gem State that Pre-K is not a toxic cocktail to discuss at the statehouse. Continue reading

Time for Idaho to Act on its Special Education Problem

 

As a parting gift before the new year, the Idaho Board of Education released a painfully grim picture for teacher recruitment and retention in its ironically named “Teacher Pipeline Report.”

That report details a current a woefully inadequate current mechanism to attract and retain qualified teachers in the Gem State that is anything but a pipeline delivering the necessary flow of new talent.

A few takeaways:  One third of newly certified teachers in Idaho leave to teach in greener pastures outside Idaho; one in ten current Idaho teachers will call this year their last–much higher than the national average; of teachers quitting, three out of four are doing so before retirement age. Continue reading

2017 Reviewed and 2018 Previewed: A Teacher’s Perspective

Superintendent Ybarra

Since I have done this yearly reflection, I find that 2017 was the most mild year I have had reflected upon.  That outcome lead me declare this 365 days the year of Sherri Ybarra.

I know that won’t go over well with some. Let me explain.

Normalcy.  2017 had no major brawls that pitted Idaho’s teachers against the State Department or their elected officials.  Minor squabbles aside, 2017 marked a high water mark in the ability of teachers and districts to work collaboratively with the SDE and the statehouse.   Continue reading