In the wake of the Executive Order banning Muslims and refugees from seven countries, National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia issued a statement condemning the action. “Donald Trump’s Muslim and refugee ban is a deliberate and coordinated attack on our core values as Americans and on those who come to our country seeking safety, freedom and opportunity and, in the process make America a better country,” the statement reads in part. Click here to read the full statement.
Anti-Common Core Group in House Ed, on Capitol Steps
A small group of protestors gathered on the steps of the capitol Monday to voice their opposition to Common Core (known in Idaho as the Idaho Core Standards). Representatives Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley), Ron Nate (R-Rexburg), and Sage Dixon (R-Ponderay) were in attendance, as was Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett). Speakers at the rally included Republican gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher, Madison School District Superintendent Dr. Geoff Thomas, and Duke Pesta, academic director of the Freedom Project Academy. Pesta also addressed the House Education Committee earlier in the day, screaming at committee members before being cut off after about 30 minutes of “testimony”. Idaho Education News has a full story of the day’s events.
House Education Committee Also Hears About School Funding Basics
Much less inflammatory testimony came from Tim Hill, Idaho’s Associate Deputy Superintendent for Public School Finance, who gave the committee a primer on school funding. Hill shared that there are three factors that determine how much money a district gets.
- How big or small the district is. Larger districts get less per unit than smaller ones.
- Who is hired by the district.
- What grade levels the students are in.
Hill also reminded the committee that under the current attendance-based funding model, the early weeks of the school year are the only weeks that have a bearing on how much money a district receives (based on actual attendance on certain pre-selected dates).
He also noted that the majority of discretionary funds are used for health insurance, with utilities the next most costly item. He also said of discretionary funds: “We have seen this grow nominally at best. This is not an opinion, it is just an observation”.
Idaho’s school funding mechanisms are currently being studied by a task force convened by the governor. IEA members Kari Overall and Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise) are members of that task force.