Tag Archives: Ybarra

2016 Idaho Education Reviewed, and 2017 Previewed: A Teacher’s Perspective

My crystal ball was rather cloudy last year. I had predicted that the major focus of the 2016 legislature would focus on taxation, largely by decreasing the highest marginal tax rate for the wealthiest in the Gem State. I thought education would take a backseat.

And while there certainly was discussion of updating Idaho’s tax code, those conversations fizzled like Democrats in their elections this year.

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2015 Idaho Education Reviewed, and 2016 Previewed: A Teacher’s Perspective.

idahoMy 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.

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Data Shows Disparity in Minority Student Enrollment at Idaho’s Charter Schools

Supt. Ybarra addresses pro-charter supporters at a Boise, Idaho rally.

Supt. Ybarra addresses pro-charter supporters at a Boise, Idaho rally.

Part 1 of a multi-part series.  Part 2 will focus on Special Education students in Idaho’s charters.  Stay tuned.  Edit: Original post identified Taylor’s crossing as being in Idaho Falls District; it is in Bonneville District and post has been updated to reflect this.

Shortly after inauguration, one of Superintendent Ybarra’s first public events was to demonstrate her support for Idaho’s growing number of charter schools.  Betsy Russell in the Spokesman Review reported Ybarra telling the crowd:

Instead of pitting charter schools and traditional schools against one another … we must instead build a bridge of communication to one another so that we can take the best from each educational option and create successful, effective options for all

That message is a great piece of wisdom that (hopefully) indicates a willingness by the current administration to address the current picture of charter schools in Idaho; that is because the most recent student enrollment data of Idaho’s charters indicates an enormous disparity of racial and special needs enrollment in Idaho’s charters in comparison to the surrounding public school district that desperately needs to be addressed.

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2014 Idaho Education Reviewed, and 2015 Previewed: A Teacher’s Perspective

idahoLast 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.

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Ybarra and Jones Spar 3 Times this Week

JonesYbarraThis week will be the first time candidates for Idaho’s Superintendent of Public Instruction will be forced to come face to face in a public forum.  Better yet, we will get three doses of it as the candidates spar it out on stage across Idaho.

I encourage you to take the time to write your questions to the moderators of the debates.  One of these candidates will lead Idaho’s students and teachers for the foreseeable future; let’s make sure we know their viewpoints and opinions before election.

It will be interesting to see what issues unite and divide these candidates, and how they share their logic with the audience on the stage.  I will be analyzing the debates throughout the week to see what issues the candidates go on record about.

In particular, the public wants specifics on Common Core, SBAC, and tiered licensure.  We’ll have to wait and see what surprises await in the upcoming debates.

I will appear at the Caldwell debate (see info below), and I sent this question to the moderator regarding my concern over tiered teacher certification:

I am a special education teacher in Caldwell.  I am concerned about tying special education student’s SBAC standardized test scores to my certification and compensation under the proposed Tiered certification model.

Many of these students have behavior difficulties that impede the validity of their responses. For example, I work primarily with students who have emotional disturbances and and autism spectrum disorders that have little motivation to take the exam seriously,  and have bluntly told me of their intention to blow off the exam just like they have in the past.

Is it fair to hold special education teachers to the same standards in the tiered certification proposal considering their students are a very different population unlikely to produce proficient results?

I encourage everyone to take the time to pen a question of your own concern regarding the candidate’s viewpoints on education topics.

IdahoEdNews reported on the dates and times the duo can be seen debating:

  • Tuesday, 7 p.m., Canyon Ridge High School, Twin Falls. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., seating first-come, first-served. Debate will run one hour, with the exchange moderated by Times-News editor Autumn Phillips. Submit questions in advance via email to aphillips@magicvalley.com.
  • Thursday, 7 p.m., Langroise Center, College of Idaho, Caldwell. Sponsored by the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce. Submit questions in advance to thardin@caldwellchamber.org.
  • Friday, 11:45 a.m., Grove Hotel, Boise. Sponsored by the City Club of Boise, and moderated by Boise State University professor emeritus Jim Weatherby. Attendees will be able to submit questions to the candidates via the moderator. Registration deadline is noon Wednesday. Cost is $18 for members and $25 for nonmembers, which includes lunch. Listeners who do not want lunch may register in advance for $5. Registration is available online.

I hope everyone will take the time see see what the candidates stand for.