Legislators will get an opportunity to hear from the public on Thursday regarding House Joint Resolution 1. This highly questionable bill, which would allow for public funds to be funneled to private and religious schools, is scheduled for a hearing Thursday morning at 8:30 in the House State Affairs Committee.
The IEA and other education groups are adamantly opposed to this legislation because it would siphon away much-needed money for our already under-funded schools and jeopardize fair and equitable opportunities for students. This bill can easily be construed as a backdoor effort to pave the way for voucher programs that could have a devastating impact on Idaho’s public schools. Visit our website for more information about the IEA’s position on HJR1 and our concerns about the precedent this could set.
If you can make it to Thursday’s hearing to testify in person, great. If not, please call or e-mail members of the State Affairs Committee and let them know your opinion.
Senate Panel Approves Charter School Teacher Contract Bill
The Senate Education Committee gave a green light to SB 1248, a bill sponsored by Sen. Bob Nonini (R-Post Falls), that would allow Idaho public charter schools to issue any kind of contract to their teachers that the board determines is best for their school.
The charter school lobbyist pushing the legislation told lawmakers that charter schools could use the teacher contracts that exist for traditional public schools. But, she told committee members that many charter schools are interested in issuing of one-year contracts, at-will contracts, or any contract that the charter school boards and administrators believe would be best in helping them to achieve their charter missions.
The IEA opposed the legislation, as did several charter school administrators, the Idaho School Boards Association, and the School Administrators Association. Paul Stark, IEA General Counsel, told committee members that charters are designed to be innovative in teaching and curriculum, but SB 1248 legislation would throw contract law out the window, creating a volley of employment relationships from charter school to charter school and from teacher to teacher, further destabilizing the teaching work force.
The bill now moves to the full Senate for their consideration. Contact your senator and urge him or her to oppose SB 1248.
New Science Standards Rejected
The Senate Education Committee has rebuffed new academic standards proposed by the State Board of Education. The committee cited two primary reasons for the move:
- Questions about the public comment process.
- Concern about the scientific validity of the concepts of evolution and climate change.
The State Board will now revisit the suggested rules in the wake of the action taken by the Senate Education Committee.