The Senate Education Committee had a full plate today, advancing several major bills and passing a joint memorial to condemn No Child Left Behind.
The committee passed H579, which removes the sunset clause on a law passed five years ago which allows retired educators to be rehired if they are at least 62 years of age; have met the rule of 90 (age plus years of service); and have not taken early retirement benefits from PERSI. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) now goes to the full Senate. The IEA supports this measure, which is meant to help smaller districts that struggle to find the administrators and educators they need, while allowing educators to supplement their retirement income, do something they love, and maintain the security of their PERSI benefits.
Next, the committee sent H426, Rep. Steve Thayn’s “8-in-6” bill, to the Senate Amending order. The bill’s name refers to how a student could complete eight years of schooling – seventh grade through the second year of college – in just six years. The plan could save families money on college tuition – definitely a good goal – but it but it remains unclear where the funding would come from or how the legislation would impact the work of districts to promote and track student participation in the program.
Finally, the panel passed HJM8, the resolution calling for the repeal of No Child Left Behind. Retired teacher Rep. Linden Bateman (R-Idaho Falls) called the 2001 version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now undergoing reauthorization) a “mean-spirited, test-based approach” to education that has been unpopular across the political spectrum. The memorial now goes to the full Senate. IEA supports overhauling ESEA (NCLB), which was intended to fund primary and secondary education and offer equal access to education while establishing high standards and accountability. However, the reauthorized version of NCLB known as the NCLB Act of 2001 has become increasingly unworkable and punitive.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, the Senate Education Committee will hear a presentation from Colorado science teacher Aaron Sams, who has pioneered the concept of a “flipped classroom,” in which teachers put their class lectures on video for students to listen to as homework. The idea, as Sams briefly explains in this video, is to free up class time for hands-on activity and working on difficult topics. Chairman John Goedde (R-Coeur d’Alene) sent an email today asking educators be allowed to listen to the presentation if their schedules permit.
Tomorrow’s Senate Ed agenda also includes H564, the bill from Rep. JoAn Wood to makes changes to a law regarding employee records and Professional Standards Commission investigations, as well as the resolution to congratulate the Idaho Education Association on its 120th anniversary this month. The meeting starts at 3 p.m. Mountain and an audio stream will be available online via Idaho Legislature Live.