The most interesting education news today was on Page 1 of the Idaho Statesman. Reporter Dan Popkey wrote:
Four days before the Legislature convened, Gov. Butch Otter offered a cryptic answer when I asked if his vow to restore school funding still stood.
“I have not relieved myself of my commitment to make sure that the last dollar taken is the first dollar replaced — and that was education,” Otter said Jan. 5.
As another questioner spoke, Otter interrupted. “Within our ability to do so,” he said, laughing. “Let me put it that way.”
It turns out the joke is on Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, Otter’s partner in 2011’s Students Come First laws.
Otter’s budget follows the letter of the new law, removing money the state gives school districts for salaries for teachers, administrators and support staff. Instead, the cash buys computers for students and funds a “pay for performance” plan.
But Luna, eyeing the first surplus in four years, has seller’s remorse. He seeks to remove the most politically powerful argument against his plan: that it cuts teacher pay and increases class size.
The whole article is worth a read, and the comments, too: They’re mostly pro-teacher. It’s great to see so many educators and parents exploding the myths about lazy educators who get weekends and summers off.
In other news:
• The Senate Education and House Education committees both approved the proposed rule requiring two online credits for graduation, but they did so with the understanding that the mandate that one of the classes be asynchronous will be dropped in a forthcoming rule.
• Idaho Education Association General Counsel Paul Stark spoke in the Senate Education Committee against another proposed rule that we contend would further limit what teachers can discuss in negotiations. Stark will testify at the House Education Committee at 9 a.m. Monday in Room EW41. The House panel also has a prospective bill (RS 21001) titled Idaho Public School Employees on its agenda.
• The IEA teamed with a wide range of other organizations to hold a “Kitchen Table Economics” forum to mark Martin Luther King Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day at the Capitol. A packed house heard keynote speaker Dr. Stephen Cooke describe his “wage gap” study showing that Idaho’s average income is about $11,000 less than the national average (and seems destined to stay that way). More than a dozen other speakers talked briefly of their experiences with low-wage jobs, student loan debt, unemployment, and more. See some of them on YouTube.