The IEA was informed that members of the public will not be allowed to testify at an upcoming meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees.
Based on conversations held last week, we reported in Friday’s edition of the Hotline that the public would be allowed to make comments about the issues of school choice, vouchers, and the Blaine Amendment. However, Rep. Reed DeMordaunt (R-Meridian) has clarified that only legislators will be speaking about these issues at Thursday’s meeting.
No specific pieces of legislation will be discussed or voted on during the upcoming meeting. The meeting is informational only. And, while the public is still (and always) welcome to attend the meeting, those in attendance will not have an opportunity to provide written or oral comment.
Innovation Schools Act Approved
The House of Representatives passed HB 570, Idaho’s Innovation School Act, sponsored by Rep. Wendy Horman (R-Idaho Falls) on a party line vote Monday morning. The IEA strongly opposes the bill, which now moves to the Senate Education Committee for their consideration.
HB 570 will allow up to ten schools or charter schools each year over a five-year period to apply for independence from laws, state board rules, and local district policies. Innovation schools will receive $10,000 seed money to plan and begin implementation of their innovative practices.
The IEA supports innovation for teachers and districts as laid out in the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education. Specifically, we believe the Governor’s Office, the SBE and the SDE should involve all stakeholders in an exercise of evaluating existing education laws and administrative rules and work with the Legislature to remove those which impede local autonomy, as described in the Task Force recommendations.
HB 570 raises too many concerns and opens the door to too many unintended consequences. HB 570 could create unnecessary volatility in our schools; there is a better way to allow flexibility for innovation for our students, teachers and public school districts.
Hotline readers are encouraged to contact members of the Senate Education Committee. Urge them to hold HB 570 in committee and instead use the summer to bring all stakeholders together to audit existing rules and laws and recommend removal of those restrictive policies that limit innovation.