Dr. Don Coberly, Superintendent of the Boise School District, was harshly critical of the “Don’t Fail Idaho” advertising campaign in a communication sent to teachers and other district personnel. He also called into question the motives of the organization behind the campaign, the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation.
The letter vigorously disputes the “Don’t Fail Idaho” claim that four out of five Idaho students are not prepared for life after high school. Dr. Coberly points to four key disagreements with the campaign.
- It promotes an agenda that is designed to undermine public schools.
- It is highly inaccurate.
- It offers no real solutions to increasing post-secondary readiness.
- It is a disservice to the work that professional educators do every day for the youth of the Boise district.
Here is more from Dr. Coberly’s letter.
“The ad is just one more indication that the Foundation is out of touch with where Idaho is going. For the first time in nearly a decade, The Governor, State Board of Education, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Legislature, ISBA, IASA, and the IEA are working together to build up our public education system, funding schools more properly and making teacher salaries more competitive in order to improve the economy and develop a more educated citizenry. The Albertsons Foundation is trying to tear it down.”
Dr. Coberly’s position seems to have struck a nerve, not just in Boise, but around the state. A posting of his letter on the IEA Facebook page garnered more than 250 “shares” in less than a day. According to Boise School District officials, you can expect to see a similar letter in the editorial sections of local newspapers in the very near future.
Correction to Story on Boise State Survey
Yesterday’s Hotline included a story about a survey done by Boise State University’s School of Public Service. That story should have said:
- 28.2% said that education/school funding is the most important issue facing Idaho today. This easily outdistanced the second highest issue, which was the economy (9.8%).
- 5% identified education as the top priority for the Idaho legislature.
- 2% said that providing more state money for teacher salaries is the top education funding priority.
Sick Leave Transfer Bill
The Senate Education Committee has voted unanimously to send HB 452 to the floor with a “do pass” recommendation. This legislation, brought by the State Board of Education, will allow employees of all state agencies governed by the State Board of Education, including school district employees, to transfer all accumulated sick leave to another state educational entity or state agency when they take a new job with that agency.
For years, teachers have been unable to transfer more than 90 days of sick leave, when moving to a new school district, a state college or university, or to the State Department or State Board of Education. This artificial sick leave cap made it difficult for teachers to move within the education field. By doing so, an individual teacher risked losing a significant retirement benefit, as sick leave days are used to ‘purchase’ health care benefits through the PERSI system in retirement. The legislation now moves to the full Senate for their consideration.
House Agrees to Fund Eastern Idaho Community College
In his education budget proposal, Governor Otter requested $5 million as seed money for a community college in Idaho Falls. The House voted 62-6 on Tuesday to approved those funds if voters in eastern Idaho approve the creation of such a school. Betsy Russell has more in this article from the Spokesman Review.