IEA Hotline—February 7, 2020
Over the strenuous objections of professional educators, the House Education Committee voted Wednesday to repeal the existing Idaho Standards for Initial Certification of Professional School Personnel. The next day the committee doubled-down on its dubious actions by voting to repeal all of Idaho’s Content Standards.
The fight to preserve these critical rules that provide structure for Idaho’s students and professional educators is not over, however. Because the standards are enacted by administrative rules, either education committee can vote to retain them in their current form. The Senate Education Committee is expected to take up both the teacher certification and content standards next week. It is imperative that you contact members of the Senate Education Committee and let them know you want the current rules to remain in force, ensuring that educators meet minimum requirements before working in Idaho schools and essential benchmarks for student learning. Email addresses for the committee are below.
firstname.lastname@example.org Sen. Dean Mortimer, Chair
email@example.com Sen. Steven Thayn, Vice-Chair
firstname.lastname@example.org Sen. Chuck Winder
email@example.com Sen. Lori Den Hartog
firstname.lastname@example.org Sen. Carl Crabtree
email@example.com Sen. Jim Woodward
firstname.lastname@example.org Sen. Dave Lent
email@example.com Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb
firstname.lastname@example.org Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking
“The actions taken by the House Education Committee potentially jeopardize the growth and learning of our students and once again show callous disrespect for professional educators,” says IEA President Layne McInelly. “By taking these actions, the committee has chosen to ignore the guidance of every single education stakeholder group and runs the risk of comprising Idaho public schools.”
In pushing to repeal the initial certification standards, Rep. Gary Marshall, R-Idaho Fall, indicated the standards were too difficult for collegiate teacher preparation programs to meet. Marshall is a former administrator at BYU-Idaho, which has seen numerous teaching candidates require remediation before becoming certified. The committee also gave credence to testimony from administrators from ABCTE (American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence), who also complained about the difficulty in becoming certified to teach in Idaho.
“We believe this is just another example of Idaho lowering the bar and creating short cuts to fill teaching positions rather than addressing the real and ongoing problems that are leading to the teacher pipeline issue,” says McInelly. For more on the decision to overturn teacher certification standards, read this story by Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News.
All of the major education stakeholder groups, including the IEA, testified in favor of keeping the current Idaho Content Standards, and in-person testimony was heavily weighted toward retaining them as well. The math and English and language arts standards are due for review next year by education professionals, and the science standards have not been in place long enough for accurate assessment.
“The review process is the appropriate mechanism for revising Idaho’s Content Standards,” says McInelly. “Rather than go through that process and modify the standards as needed, the committee has chosen the nuclear option.”
Again, the Senate Education Committee has the authority to vote to retain both the teacher certification and content standards. Contact the committee now and tell them to keep the current rules as they are drafted.
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