IEA Hotline—February 21, 2020
A new Career Ladder bill was introduced in the House Education Committee this week. HB 523, the Advanced Professional Educator Pay legislation was presented by Gov. Little’s Senior Education Advisor, Greg Wilson, and received unanimous approval for printing from the committee.
The bill would add $225 million to the Career Ladder over the next five years, including $30 million in 2020-21. It was designed to provide districts with increased allocations for veteran teachers who have largely been left behind by previous iterations of the Career Ladder. At the end of its rollout, the new Career Ladder would have a maximum allocation to districts of $63,000 at the top rung of the Advanced Professional classification. It also builds in two additional minimum salaries—in 2022 teachers on the professional and advanced professional rungs cannot be paid less than the minimum amount on the professional rung, and in 2025 it ensures that educators with advanced professional status will not be paid less than the minimum amount of their advanced professional rung.
“The Advanced Professional Educator Pay legislations gives us an opportunity to remedy an oversight in Idaho’s investment in public schools—making sure veteran educators have the compensation and respect they deserve,” says IEA President Layne McInelly. “The legislation also provides us with a golden opportunity for shared accountability around student growth, professional evolution, and effective evaluations. Read the entire statement from McInelly here.
To be eligible for the Advanced Professional Educator endorsement, educators must have held a professional endorsement for five years or more. There are a number of other stipulations for eligibility that are spelled out in the text of the legislation.
HB 523 is expected to return to the House Education Committee for a full hearing sometime next week.
Latest on Mental and Emotional Health Legislation
Several members of the House Education Committee have been chastised for their comments about proposed legislation on students’ mental and emotional health. The incident occurred when State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra presented to the committee on the recommendations made by the governor’s K-12 task force, one of which was to provide additional resources to help educators support students’ mental and emotional health. Read last week’s Hotline for a summary.
This week IEA President Layne McInelly authored an opinion piece about the crisis in suicide and mental/emotional health among Idaho students and the refusal of some lawmakers to acknowledge what is happening in our schools. Editorials from the Idaho Statesman and Coeur d’Alene Press also called took legislators to task.
Official legislation proposing $1 million for educator training on mental and emotional health is expected to be brought forward in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to the Hotline for details on when and where.
Bill to Ban Transgender Girls from School Sports Advances in House
Legislation introduced by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls that would prevent transgender athletes from taking part in competitive athletics passed the House State Affairs Committee on a party-line vote. HB 500 would require athletes to have a physical exam, a genetic test, and a hormonal test to prove they were born female in order to play for teams sponsored by public schools.
Opponents object to the intrusive testing and further marginalizing of a specific segment of the population. They also believe the legislation is unconstitutional.
Those in favor of the bill say it creates a more level playing field for female athletes and more opportunities for females who might choose not to play sports because of concerns about competing against students who were born male. When asked if there are current issues the legislation is trying to address, Ehardt admitted that there are not.
New Sex Education Bill Introduced
Rep. Ehardt also presented her latest sex education “opt-in” bill, which was introduced by the House Education Committee on a party line vote. We opposed this legislation on the grounds that many students will be left out of much-needed information and context under an “opt-in” provision. A similar bill from Rep. Ehardt was advanced by the committee last year but never became law.
CTE Bill Passes Senate Education Committee
A bill that would incentivize industry workers to become CTE teachers has passed the Senate Education Committee. Sponsored by Sen. Dave Lent, R-Idaho Falls, SB 1326 would pay $3,000 stipends directly to those who assume CTE teaching positions and would streamline their path to certification. While there are aspects of the bill that are intriguing, the IEA testified against it. IEA General Counsel Paul Stark told the committee “at this point in time, virtually every teaching job is a hard-to-fill position and we should not prioritize one type of educator over others.”
Stay up to date on the latest developments by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@IdahoEA).