Tag Archives: Education

Another Colossal Pay Disaster

New_Coke_Resized (1)

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. 

Continue reading

2014 Legislature: My Optimistic Glass Half-Empty Reading

Yes an optimist can have a glass half empty.

By Levi B Cavener

Levi B CavenerOn Monday the doors will open to a new legislative session. It will be a cordial reunion in which freshman will try to be seen with the  veterans. In the spirit of bipartisanship, democrats and  republicans will mingle together on the floor while waiting for the Govenor’s speech. There will be an atmosphere of opportunity and hope that has been absent since the Great Recession struck the gem state.

Continue reading

Diane Ravitch Gave Us a “Shout-Out” on TFA

diane_cover-248x300National education blogger and education advocate, Diane Ravitch, posted Levi’s Op-Ed on TFA today on her website.  Thanks Diane for including Idaho in the national conversation of education policy!

 

Physical Fitness Requires Financial Fitness

Are Idaho’s new physical education rules healthy?

By Levi B Cavener

Levi B CavenerIn November of last year, the Idaho State Board of Education approved a new set of rules that require additional physical education instruction in Idaho’s schools.  The new set of rules was a scaled down version of the original package and does not include a 2 credit PE graduation requirement.  It does, however, require PE an hour a week for elementary students, and about 3 hours for middle school student every two weeks.

On the surface, this is great news.  Every student in Idaho should have access to an excellent physical education curriculum promoting strong healthy habits.  For the first time, students across the state will have equitable access to PE.  Or will they? Continue reading

The New Mute Button

Is The Idaho Professional Standards Commission Up to the Challenge?

By Levi B Cavener

Levi B CavenerIdaho educational news made national headlines this year; as usual, it wasn’t because Idaho was touting how it’s educational policies have led it to be a top state in the nation in educating our students. Nope, instead Idaho was blasted over a case involving an ethics probe of an Idaho education teacher. Continue reading

TFA OpEd published around the state!

Our OpEd was published around Idaho including the Post Register, Idaho State’s Bengal, and Idaho Ed News.

http://isubengal.com/teach-america-falls-short/

http://www.idahoednews.org/voices/teach-for-america-falls-short-in-special-education/

Teach For America Falls Short in Special Education

By Levi B Cavener

“We all know that we aren’t yet providing a world-class education for every child with a disability. And we won’t rest until we do that,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2010 while celebrating the anniversary of the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA).

Levi B CavenerIndeed, there is good reason for Duncan to acknowledge that despite achieving such incredible victories for special education students our nation still has many hurdles to overcome with educating students with special needs.  This is particularly true when ensuring that a “highly qualified” educator — not just on paper, but in practice — is leading the head of every special education classroom; such is my concern with an organization inaptly named, Teach For America (TFA).  

At a December 10, 2013, Vallivue School Board meeting I listened to Nicole Brisbane, Idaho’s TFA point person, pitch her product.  (The Albertson Foundation, a heavy donor to the district, had called them to see if they would meet with Ms. Brisbane.)  During the presentation board members inquired about TFA’s ability to provide staffing for “hard-to-fill” positions, particularly special education.  Brisbane was clear: TFA can provide “highly qualified” special education instructors.   Continue reading