A new set of science standards for Idaho public schools, developed by a team that includes IEA member and 2016 Idaho Teacher of the Year Melyssa Ferro, will get its first legislative exposure in a House Education Committee hearing Tuesday. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra and Director of Academic Services Scott Cook will make a presentation on the standards to the committee. Rep. Julie Van Orden (R-Pingree), chair of the House Education Committee, is encouraging public comment on the proposed standards at Tuesday’s hearing.
Last year the legislature rejected the proposed standards, citing concerns about the public comment process as well as references to climate change. Idaho last updated its science standards in 2001, but the state will revert to those 16-year-old standards if the legislature rejects the proposed new standards again. You can read the proposed standards, as well as background on their development, on the State Board of Education website. Tuesday’s House Education Committee meeting begins at 9:00 AM, and you can listen to the audio feed here.
DeVos Vote Expected Tuesday
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary Tuesday, with opponents working hard to convince one more Senator to vote against the drastically unqualified nominee. Democratic senators spent Monday reiterating the many reasons that a DeVos confirmation would be disastrous for students and public education, including the latest revelation that she drastically overstated graduation rates for online charter schools, quoting figures from K12, Inc. (a company that she has a history of investing in) rather than the figures used by state and federal agencies. As reported by Idaho Education News, the Idaho Virtual Academy was one of the online charter schools DeVos was mistaken about.
Meanwhile, IEA President Penni Cyr and NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia were joined by a large group of educators and concerned citizens for a rally in Washington, DC. The current projected vote would come in as a 50-50 tie, with Vice President Mike Pence as the tie-breaking vote. Republican have also delayed the confirmation hearing of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General so that he can cast his vote on the DeVos confirmation.