In a significant first step toward increasing compensation for veteran teachers, the educator pipeline subcommittee has included a third rung of the Career Ladder with a $60,000 allocation in its final recommendations. One of four subcommittees working under the main K-12 task force convened by Gov. Brad Little, the educator pipeline subcommittee included IEA President Kari Overall and IEA members, Idaho Rep. John McCrostie, Marc Beitia (American Falls) and Peggy Hoy (Twin Falls).
“This is a positive development in efforts to address Idaho’s issues with teacher retention, where we have seen educators leave our classrooms at a rate considerably higher than the national average,” says Overall. “The consensus of our subcommittee was that more competitive salaries for our most experienced teachers and expanded professional support are crucial to providing Idaho students with the public schools they deserve.”
After a series of in-depth meetings over the past few months, the educator pipeline subcommittee is officially forwarding two recommendations on to the main task force.
- Building out the current Career Ladder salary allocation structure, including a third rung that will provide districts with $60,000 allocations for veteran teachers. This recommendation is in line with one made by the original K-12 task force in 2013 that was not implemented by the Idaho legislature. If approved by the legislature in the upcoming session, it is likely the Career Ladder build-out would be phased in over multiple years.
- Increased professional support, including expanded professional development and mentoring. The subcommittee heard from educators about the importance of continual growth as a key component for teacher retention and student achievement.
“As someone who has been a classroom teacher and now works as an instructional coach, I have seen first-hand the value of professional development and mentoring,” says Hoy. “It was nice to see our subcommittee recognize the important role state and local support plays in keeping our best educators in Idaho classrooms.”
It is important to note that the recommendations of the K-12 task force are non-binding, and that final decisions on education policy and funding will be made by the legislature. Nevertheless, the broad cross-section of support leading to these recommendations is an encouraging sign.
“The legislature and Gov. Little have made significant investments in public education in recent years that have helped address our ability to recruit new teachers,” says Overall. “It’s up to us as IEA members and professional educators to make sure they recognize the importance of investing in our most experienced and accomplished educators.”
The educator pipeline subcommittee also spent a great deal of time discussing teacher evaluations. They did not issue any recommendations relating to evaluations but left the door open for subsequent recommendations to (or perhaps from) the main task force.
The other three subcommittees are expected to finalize their recommendations in the next week or so. The next meeting of the main K-12 task force will take place on October 1, 2019, at the University of Idaho in Moscow.