School district officials can breathe a sigh of relief…at least for the remainder of this school year. On Wednesday, Gov. Butch Otter signed HB 168, the bill that will allocate $3.6 million to the State Department of Education (SDE) to help school districts pay for broadband service for the remainder of the school year. Lawmakers have yet to determine a “fix” for the 2015-16 year.
The governor released the following statement after signing the measure. “With this bill, the Legislature is sending a strong message to the people of Idaho that we will not let the education of Idaho’s children or this dynamic tool for preparing them for the future be sidetracked – as well as the opportunities for enabling even the smallest of our rural communities to fully participate in Idaho’s economic growth,”
“A lot of work remains to be done to set this right, including a funding solution beyond the current school year. But I’m confident that we are working with a singular focus on the good of Idaho students – and that means a strong and reliable IEN.”
IEA Opposes Civics Testing Legislation
The IEA joined the school administrators and school boards associations in speaking out against a measure that would require all public high school students to pass a US citizenship test in order to graduate from high school.
President Penni Cyr testified for the IEA against SB 1071, sponsored by Rep. Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls), telling members of the Senate Education Committee the IEA is and has always been opposed to the use of high-stakes testing. She pointed out that the exponential growth of high-stakes tests has a detrimental impact on the quantity and quality of instruction students receive, and the increased pressure of high-stakes testing is counter-productive.
After several tie votes, the committee finally agreed on a 5-3 vote to send the bill to the 14th Order for potential amendments. However, when questioned about what kind of amendments he was contemplating, the bill sponsor told the panel he had none in mind at this time.
The Latest on Career Ladders
Wednesday morning stakeholders learned that there may be a new draft of a career ladders plan and that Rep. Reed DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) had told Idaho Education News reporter Clark Corbin that a bill could be introduced as early as Friday. However, just a few hours later, we were told that the bill still needed extensive rewriting.
The sands continue to shift rapidly around this issue. The stakeholders continue to meet and reconfirm our strong opposition to any bill that would decrease local autonomy, make accountability unmanageable at the local school district level, and cause further difficulty in recruiting and retaining teachers to Idaho.