Idaho’s high school graduation rates rose from 78.9% to 79.5% year over year, according to a press release from the State Department of Education. “This is proof that we are seeing a positive trend in our graduation rate under the four-year calculation,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said in the release.
Idaho Superintendents Weigh-In on Career Ladder, Evaluations
Several district Superintendents were interviewed by Idaho Education News about the state’s intention to invest an additional $62 million in the Career Ladder salary allocation plan, as well as the inaccurate teacher evaluation review. Multiple superintendents expressed concern about the ongoing tug-of-war between the State Department of Education and the State Board of Education over which body is going to oversee the evaluation process. “I’m worried that State Board is getting very much involved in an area where they should write rules and then leave it to the State Department of Education and superintendents to handle things,” Blackfoot Superintendent Brian Kress said in the story.
Rep. Heather Scott Back on Her Committees
House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) has reinstated Rep. Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) to her committee assignments. Scott had been removed from those committees following unprofessional comments during the first week of the legislative session. According to KTVB-TV in Boise, Scott has apologized multiple times and was frustrated that her constituents in North Idaho had been “disenfranchised”.
Two Key U.S. Senators Say They Will Vote “No” on Betsy DeVos
Republican senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have joined 48 Democratic senators who say they will vote “no” on confirming Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. Murkowski indicated that the overwhelming number of calls and e-mails from her constituents voicing opposition to DeVos played a significant role in her decision. Collins questioned DeVos’ commitment to public schools. However, both senators voted to approve her confirmation in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, leading to a 12-11 vote and sending her confirmation to the full Senate. A 50-50 tie would be broken by Vice President Mike Pence, so one more Senator would have to vote in opposition for the DeVos nomination to be rejected. Read more in this story from the Huffington Post.
Trump Tabs Jerry Falwell, Jr. to Lead Higher Education Task Force
Also on the national scene, evangelical leader Jerry Falwell, Jr., President of Liberty University, has been appointed by President Donald Trump as the head of an education reform task force looking at higher education. Among the most noteworthy of Falwell’s stated priorities is cutting federal rules on investigating and reporting sexual assault on college campuses. More here from Reuters News on this troubling announcement.