The Senate Education Committee met for the first time this session to hear from education stakeholders, including the Idaho Education Association. IEA President Penni Cyr began the presentation by reinforcing to the committee the concept that the IEA is a member-owned, member-driven organization that makes sure the voices of professional educators are heard at the Capitol.
The IEA shared the podium with representatives of the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of School Administrators. The three groups told lawmakers that though they don’t always agree with each other on education policy issues, they share much common ground on what Idaho needs to do to provide an education system that gives our students real opportunities to thrive.
The IEA, represented by IEA Executive Director Robin Nettinga, outlined the IEA’s primary goal of ensuring maximum funding for K-12 schools for FY17. Full-funding for the second year of the career ladder, increasing operational funding to at least 2009 levels, and providing funding for mentoring training and support are among the IEA’s top priorities.
Nettinga reminded lawmakers that teaching is a difficult job and the IEA will continue to oppose policies intended to allow shortcuts to becoming a teacher. The State Board of Education will be asking legislators to approve a rule that would make it easier to bypass the study and practice that is necessary to effectively take on full teaching responsibilities. “We must do more to recruit and retain quality teachers in Idaho, and the IEA has serious concerns about policies that would erode the required pathways that ensure qualified teachers in our classrooms,” Nettinga said.
Superintendent Ybarra, representatives of the State Board of Education, Governor Otter’s office, Professional Technical Education, charter schools, and private schools also shared their priorities with the panel.