The first half of the legislative session typically includes a rush to get bills introduced and started through committees. From the education perspective, Monday is a relatively significant benchmark in that it is the last day that the Senate Education Committee can introduce new legislation. The House Education Committee would have to be the initiator of any subsequent legislation over the remainder of the session. History tells us to be ready for unexpected legislation during this transitional week.
State Board Expected to Present Evaluation Review Next Week
The State Board of Education is expected to present their findings from a review of Idaho’s teacher evaluation process to a joint session of the education committees sometime next week. House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) and others have emphasized that the Career Ladder needs to be accompanied by a robust teacher evaluation system. To date, while the evaluations themselves have been more than satisfactory, the process of conducting and reporting the evaluations has been fraught with concerns. Keep checking the Hotline for updates on when and where the presentation will take place—we will want people to attend this meeting.
House Ed Approves Standards for Math, English and Computer Science
Unlike the previous day when there was some disagreement over the content of Idaho’s science standards, the House Education Committee on Friday approved new standards in math and English, as well as the state’s initial standards in computer science. The standards were developed by a review committee, and were presented after the receipt of more than 6,000 public responses, which were overwhelmingly positive. The proposed standards now move to the Senate Education Committee. Idaho Education News has a full story on Friday’s meeting.
Town Hall Meetings Are a Great Place to Interact with Your Legislator
Legislators have started hosting back-home town hall meetings, providing updates on legislative activities and gathering feedback from constituents. Most legislators host 2 or 3 town hall-style meetings during the session to provide critical updates from the Capitol and nearly all meetings are open to the public. These forums are a great way to speak directly to lawmakers and share your opinion on the most important issues facing our state. The best way to find out when a meeting will be held in your legislative district is to sign up for newsletters from your Representatives and Senator. Lawmakers will typically send out one update a week and include important dates like town hall meetings. Find when your lawmaker is hosting a meeting and share with your colleagues and friends.