The IEA has created a page devoted to the issue of the career ladder legislation. We add new information to that page daily. It provides links the latest news stories from around the state. You can also listen to several audio recordings of interviews IEA President Penni Cyr has had with radio stations. The IEA’s official statement on the proposal unveiled last week, and links to hotline messages focusing on the various pieces of the career ladder legislation can also be accessed here.
Career Ladder is House Bill 222
HB 222 is now available on the legislative website. The 33-page piece of legislation encompasses changes to both teacher certification and a new teacher pay system. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of some of the specific issues the bill is intended to address.
|Tiered Certification||Under the proposal, new teachers will receive mentoring during the initial three (3) years of certification. Every teacher will also have an individualized professional learning plan.||There is no funding tied to mentoring or to the development or implementation of the individualized professional learning plans.|
|Accountability for Teachers||Teachers neither fear nor oppose accountability. Teachers strongly support accountability for themselves, their colleagues, students, administrators, parents, and policymakers. The bill further defines accountability from the perspective of some lawmakers.||HB 222 puts accountability on teachers for conditions over which they have little or no control. Tying an individual teacher’s pay to their ability to ensure a majority of their students show proficiency/growth with no control over the conditions outside the classroom is unfair.|
|Accountability for Administrators||Administrators are responsible for ensuring teachers are fairly and appropriately evaluated.||This legislation does nothing to hold administrators accountable for fair and appropriate evaluations. The requirement for evaluation audits is burdensome for the teacher, does not include consequences for the administrator if s/he is found to have inappropriately evaluated an individual teacher. There is no funding to carry out this mandate, either.|
|Rewarding Teaching Excellence||Teachers are acknowledged and rewarded for their leadership and mastery of the art and science of teaching.||The legislation provides bonuses for leadership and for master teachers. For the first time, teachers are split into two classes: instructional staff, defined as classroom teachers who are responsible for the direct instruction of students and pupil services personnel (counselors, nurses, speech pathologists, etc.) who are not responsible for the direct instruction of students on a daily basis. Pupil service staff members are unable to qualify for mastery of their profession. Those who work in schools know that every adult in the school setting is responsible for the success of the students, regardless of the title or degree an individual holds.|
|Teacher Pay Increases||HB 222 would provide as much as $126 million to the teacher salary base over the next five (5) years.||Assuming the legislature actually holds true to this promise and school districts receive the funding over next five (5) years, it still leaves Idaho teacher salaries far behind other states that surround us. In 2020-21 school year, the beginning rung on the Residency level is $37,000 and the model tops out at a salary of $50,000. Currently, at least three surrounding states pay far above $37,000 for beginning teachers and most states boast average salaries far above $50,000.|
|Recruitment and Retention of quality teaching staff||The Governor’s Task Force identified the state’s ability to recruit and retain teachers as one the main purposes for the creation of a tiered certification/career ladder proposal. It is imperative that Idaho do more to ensure we are able to attract quality candidates and then keep them in Idaho. This requires that we develop and implement good policy that ensures current and future teachers see teaching as a worthy profession and that we provide funding that further illustrates our state’s commitment to education.||The number of individuals seeking teacher certification has declined over the past few years. Colleges of teacher education are reporting declining student enrollment. More and more districts have been unable to hire qualified teachers. Many of these districts have requested alternative or emergency teaching authorizations through the Professional Standards Commission over the past few years. Last year, more than 500 teachers were working under an alternate or emergency certificate. It is impossible to keep teachers in Idaho when they can travel across state boundaries and immediately receive thousands of more dollars for the very same work they are doing in Idaho or leave the profession entirely.|
Career Ladder Hearing Set for Tuesday
House Chairman Reed DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) has scheduled a hearing for HB 222 for Tuesday, March 10th. The hearing will begin at 8 AM in Room E42. This is not the regular meeting room for the committee. The room is larger to accommodate more members of the public.
We are encouraging all IEA members who would like to participate in the hearing to please plan to attend. The hearing is likely to last several hours. If you are interested in attending, please contact your region office or call the IEA at 1-800-727-9922 for more details.
If you are unable to attend, it is critical that you contact members of the House Education Committee and share your concerns with them! Please email the committee members before Tuesday morning.
More Editorials and Opinions on Education Begin to Surface
The editorial in today’s Coeur d’Alene Press, in part, urges the legislature to do better than HB 222.
The Idaho Statesman published a guest opinion by Boise political activist and newly-elected College of Western Idaho Board member Emily Walton in which she outlines how she would prefer the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry focus their energy.
Senate Panel Admonishes Albertson Foundation Head on Ads
Albertson Foundation Executive Director Roger Quarles found himself defending the Foundation’s “Don’t Fail Idaho” advertisements on Thursday afternoon.
Following a presentation by the Foundation on their various initiatives, several members of the Senate Education Committee took an opportunity to share their feelings about the Foundation’s ad campaign.
In a move that we know many teachers would have appreciated, Senators Shawn Keough (R-Sandpoint), Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls), Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise), Cherie Buckner-Webb (D-Boise), and Bob Nonini (R-Post Falls) all shared their frustration with the negative tone of the ads.
They encouraged the Foundation to reconsider the campaign and instead use their influence to focus on the great things taking place in our schools and encouraging support for teachers, the teaching profession and Idaho’s great public schools.