IEA President Penni Cyr testified in front of the Senate Education Committee regarding SCR 106. This Senate Concurrent Resolution, sponsored by Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett), outlines the types of and reasons for testing and further directs the State Department of Education (SDE) to find an alternative to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test.
After careful consideration, the IEA elected to support this legislation that can provide teachers with data needed to modify instruction, but Cyr went on the record with the committee regarding significant concerns about high-stakes testing. “The IEA believes that tests exist for ONE purpose: to improve the quality of education and instruction for students,” she told the committee. “The IEA opposes any tests that are used to compare students, teachers, programs, schools, communities and states.”
House Panel Approves Bill to Lift Sunset on One-Year Master Agreements
Members of the House Education Committee approved HB 169 at their Tuesday morning meeting. This legislation would remove the sunset and make the law requiring that all master agreements between the district and teachers expire on June 30th of each year. The law also requires districts to bargain compensation and benefits each year and allows the parties to extend to two years, agreements on any other issue.
In exchange for the IEA’s agreement to remain neutral on this legislation, the Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA) agreed to refrain from introducing for at least two years, any legislation that would allow school boards to impose their “last, best offer” if negotiations were not completed by June 10 of any year.
The bill now makes its way to the full House for their consideration.
Still No Career Ladder Legislation
Tuesday was another day of “wait and see” on the issue of career ladders. There are at least two pieces of legislation that have been drafted—the State Board of Education’s plan, which was submitted to the Governor’s office in early January, and Superintendent Ybarra’s pilot project plan. However, neither of those concepts has been formally introduced, and we continue to hear that the Education Committee co-chairs are still discussing the details that they feel must be included in a career ladder plan.
Though we have not seen a draft of any legislation in weeks, the IEA continues to work closely with the administrators and school boards association lobbyists on the issue, meeting daily to check rumors and confirm our commitment to supporting a piece of legislation that the members of our three organizations can accept.