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.
President Washington prepares to lead troops to quell so-called “whiskey rebels”
You would think Idaho was experiencing the Whiskey Rebellion Part Two judging by some of the rhetoric shared regarding the ballot initiative to modestly increase the state’s tobacco tax to lower the cost of college and increase revenue to the state’s tobacco cessation programs.
“Liberal agenda, un-American, and unconscionable acts” are some of the words being used to describe the ballot initiative in the state’s newspapers. Continue reading
My glass ball didn’t do too bad of a job last year in predicting some major outcomes of the 2015 legislative session.
The major development of 2015, of course, related to the contentious tiered licensure and career ladder legislation designed to increase teacher pay while simultaneously deleting certain teacher protections in compromise for the pay bump.
While the tiered licensure plan fell through due to the nearly lockstep opposition of stakeholders, many of its components were instead simply shifted to the career ladder bill that ultimately passed. As predicted, many measures seen potentially retaliatory to teachers such as the continued emphasis in utilizing the Danielson Model for teachers of all types (including Special Education, English Language Learners, Academy/At-Risk Teachers, etc) and Value Added Measures (VAM) are cemented under the law in determining a teacher’s rating.
There is some irony in the precarious position the Gem State has found itself in. Despite setting a goal in 2010 for 60% of Idaho’s young people under age 34 to attend postsecondary education, the Idaho legislature then decided the way to encourage young people to attend college is to significantly inflate the tuition costs for those would-be students in the subsequent years that followed.
This objective was coupled with a comedic “Go-On” and “Don’t Fail Idaho” campaign courtesy of Idaho’s Albertson Foundation designed to prod would-be students into higher education despite the increasing costs to attend tethered together with lackluster job prospects in the Gem State to find employment. Continue reading
The J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation executive director, Roger Quarles, recently announced that the foundation will shift their philanthropic spending away from education and more towards community spending projects.
If anyone was shocked by this move, they shouldn’t have been; the foundation lost over 20 million dollars last year in an educational data tracking project they had no business involving themselves in.
Albertson blindly ignored the advice of the federal government warning against giving money to the ill-thought-out project up when the US Dept. Of Ed refused to issue Idaho a grant for a longitudinal data tracking system citing a myriad of problems with Idaho’s proposal.
Despite this warning, Albertson ponied up over 20 million dollars in cash for the project themselves…dollars that were so dysfunctionally spent the foundation is now refusing to give another dime to the project.
A little context here: See, a few months ago I took on the task of calculating the total cost of ISEE/Schoolnet, Idaho’s longitudinal student and teacher data tracking system.
Not only did a narrative of a taxpayer checkbook out of control quickly become apparent with the project bloating even the wildest projections of cost to develop (upwards of 42 million and counting), but an additional narrative of total dysfunction also emerged.
Last year I wrote that I was a half glass empty optimist. I was encouraged by a rebounding economy that surly would help districts restore furloughs, unfreeze salary grids, and even help pay for those twinky yellow things on the road that apparently shuttle students to school.
I was cautious as many districts either continued or implemented new four day school weeks, put bandaids on crumbling infrastructure, and particularly struggled in those minority of districts that have steadfastly opposed levies despite dwindling statewide funds.
Penni Cyr emailed a response to the changes SBoE voted on and approved last week. Her response, in full, is below.