Senate Committee Agrees to Print Ed Bills

Members of the Senate Education Committee agreed to print four measures this afternoon.

Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett) introduced a measure about Kindergarten by telling committee members, “School is most effective when the home does its part.” His bill would allow for Kindergarten teachers to use the first week of every school year to visit with the parents of their students in the students’ homes or other locations.  He told committee members that the home/school relationship is crucial to student success. Said Thayn, should districts choose to take advantage of this measure, it could kick start that important partnership between parents and teachers.

The committee printed a proposal introduced by Sen. Lee Heider (R-Twin Falls) that would require the local school board deny enrollment or expel any student who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor or who has been in prison for at least one year. He reported that the parents of students from a high school in his legislative district asked him to bring this bill forward when two male students who returned to the district and enrolled in the local high school brought gang and drug activity with them.

Senator John Goedde (R-CDA) had two measures printed today. The first bill was more symbolic in nature. It would require all high school students to read Atlas Shrugged. In brief, this novel, authored by Ann Rand in the late 1950’s explores a frightening country where many of society’s most productive citizens refuse to be exploited by increasing taxation and government regulations and go on strike. The refusal evokes the imagery of what would happen if the mythological Atlas refused to continue to hold up the world. In introducing his first bill, Sen. Goedde acknowledged that the SBE sets graduation requirements and reiterated that he does not intend to hold a hearing on the measure. His purpose in printing the bill was to “begin a discussion.”

The second bill, is the reintroduction of a concept outlined in the recently repealed Proposition 1. This bill would require school districts to post both master agreements with the local teacher association and annual school district budgets online.

As soon as these measures receive bill numbers, we’ll be sure to share them with you. We’ll also keep you informed as the measures are brought back to the committee for a public hearing.

Listening Session next Monday Afternoon

Lawmakers are offering a rare opportunity for the public to share the concerns about any education issue that might be on your mind. In an effort to allow members of the public who would otherwise not be able to participate during the work day, members of the education committee will meet in a joint session late Monday afternoon from 4-6 pm.

The IEA had requested the education committee chairs arrange for this meeting so that educators and working parents could speak directly to lawmakers about their concerns. We are grateful that the chairs heard our request and made special arrangements for this meeting.

If you plan to attend, you are encouraged to prepare your brief comments in advance. It is a good idea to bring written copies of your comments with you. That way, if you are unable to present to the joint committee, you can leave a written version of your comments with the committee secretary. If you do plan to speak, You should not expect to speak for longer than 3 minutes.

For those living outside the Treasure Valley or for those who are unable to attend the meeting, you can also send your comments via email to:hedu@house.idaho.gov or to sedu@senate.idaho.gov.

Time is Wasting!

If you’ve not yet contacted members of the education committees (http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbycommittee.cfm) or your local school board members to share your concerns about the replicated Prop 1 bills, please do so today!