The House Education Committee shot down a State Board of Education rule containing science and humanities standards. Chairman Reed DeMourdant (R-Eagle) cited concerns about the public comment process and insufficient public input in leading the charge against the standards, even though State Board of Education officials indicated they followed established protocols. Other legislators, including Lance Clow (R-Twin Falls), indicated that they were uncomfortable with some language relating to the creation of the earth and human impact on climate change/global warming.
The rule must still be considered by the Senate Education Committee. If that body also rejects the rule, the State Board of Education will revisit the content of the rule and the standards that go with it during the interim between this session and the 2017 legislative session.
House Approves Computer Science Initiative
Legislation that would jump start the state’s computer science programs passed the House in 66-2 vote. HB 379 envisions a collaborative effort between the State Board of Education, the State Department of Education and the STEM Action Center Board in adopting standards and moving the initiative forward. Technology businesses in the state would also be involved as the states tries to connect the learning that takes place with the needs of the industry, which has cited an insufficiently qualified workforce in Idaho.
Representatives Shannon McMillan (R-Silverton) and Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) cast the two dissenting votes. Scott expressed concern about sources and makeup of the standards that would be put together for the initiative.
Governor Otter has made the STEM action center a significant priority, requesting $10 million in one-time funds and $2 million for annual operations. This bill includes $94,300 in funding for the computer science initiative. The bill now moves on the Senate.
McCrostie Introduces Music In Our Schools Month
Members of the House Education Committee unanimously endorsed a Joint Resolution, sponsored by IEA member-legislator John McCrostie (D-Boise) that recognizes and celebrates music education.
McCrostie is a music teacher with the Boise School District. His resolution will recognize March as Music in Our Schools Month.