The 2011 Idaho Legislature had hoped to leave town by today. They’re still here, and on Friday, the House passed the year’s most controversial bill. Senate Bill 1184 completes Superintendent Tom Luna’s hasty overhaul of education in Idaho: a job-killing, teacher-disrespecting, child-hurting package of legislation sure to haunt Idaho for decades to come. Read more here.
Actually, the package isn’t quite complete. Two trailer bills – House Bills 335 and 336 – will be heard at 8 a.m. Monday in the House Education Committee. As we noted earlier this week, these bills would clarify some sections of Senate Bills 1108 (the anti-teacher bill) and 1110 (the pay-for-performance bill). Another trailer bill, House Bill 315, also awaits action, and a fourth one may yet be introduced next week.
Also on Monday, several We Are One rallies will happen across the state to commemorate the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King was shot on that day in 1968 while standing with striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, one of his many acts in support for workers’ rights. Idaho events include:
- In Boise, a rally on the south steps of the State Capitol from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
- In Coeur d’Alene, a gathering at the corner of Northwest Boulevard and Government Way from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
- In Pocatello, a rally from 6 to 7 p.m. in Optimist Park.
In other news this week:
The House Education Committee passed House Bill 314, which would eliminate state subsidies for school-based driver’s education programs. The AAA and many parents and educators oppose this legislation, contending it will mean less access to driver’s ed for low-income families and students in smaller towns where no commercial driving schools exist.
House Education Committee members have agreed to print a bill, sponsored by Rep. Brian Cronin (D-Boise) on behalf of the IEA. House Bill 340 would require that in any year that the state does not fund educational lanes, individual teaching certificates would be extended for that same time period.
In its very busy week, the committee also agreed to print a bill that would allow the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to nominate candidates to serve on the Professional Standards Commission. If House Bill 332 passes, the superintendent will have tremendous power and influence over the selection of candidates to the PSC. (Read more here.)
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee set the Fiscal Year 2012 public schools budget, trimming $47 million from this year’s already reduced revenues. If it passes, Idaho schools will be struggling with a third straight years of cuts.