IEA Hotline – March 4th

With the weather warming and primary elections beginning to loom, lawmakers are turning their eyes to the endgame for the 2022 legislative session. A key deadline for sending legislation between the House and Senate hits on Monday, as well. Below is a quick roundup of what happened at the Statehouse this week. 

Oh! And Thursday was the Idaho Education Association’s 130th anniversary.  

Bad Voucher Legislation Dies in Committee 

House Bill 669, “an unabashed voucher bill” died in the House Education Committee on a close 7-6 vote Tuesday.  

Sponsored by Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) and Rep. Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley), the bill “would allow education funding dollars to follow students” to pay for “private tutoring; curriculum, tuition and fees at a private school; among other approved expenses.” 

IEA members opposed this legislation and any legislation that transfers public tax dollars to private or parochial schools. Please visit our website to learn about how voucher schemes hurt public schools. 


Dyslexia Screening and Educator Training Endorsed 

Legislation directing the Idaho Department of Education to screen students for dyslexia and provide professional development training for educators about the learning disorder was unanimously approved by the House Education Committee on Friday. 

House Bill 731, sponsored by Sen. Carl Crabtree (R-Grangeville), Sen. Robert Blair (R-Kendrick) and Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale), was praised by committee members and in public testimony for the help the legislation could afford those with dyslexia and the process of its drafting. The IEA supported the legislation. 

“It’s something that’s very valuable and that teachers support,” said IEA Executive Director Paul Stark.  

Last-Minute Bad-for-Education Bills Opposed by IEA 

Three last-minute bad-for-education bills were introduced on short-notice late this week, prompting the IEA to oppose the measures on their first-blush merits and the lack of public input.  

All three bills first came to light late Thursday afternoon when the House Education Committee’s agenda for its Friday morning hearing was made public – giving stakeholders and members of the public only a few hours to review the legislation and it potential impacts. All three are sponsored by Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt (R-Eagle). 

Here are the bills in question: 

  • House Bill 732 — Defines “homeschooling for the use of government entities” 
  • House Bill 733 — Bans schools from evaluating or questioning students on “non-academic” topics without parental and school board consent 
  • House Bill 734 – Allows parents to opt-out students of mask mandates imposed by public schools 

“This legislation directly affects educators, administrators, school boards, students, and families across the state,” said IEA Political Director Chris Parri, when testifying on HB 734 in the House Education Committee on Friday. “When legislation like this appears, the public, including all of those folks I just listed, deserve enough time to read a bill, consider its affects upon their lives, and speak with their representatives.” 

Despite the IEA’s opposition, HB 732 was approved by the House Education Committee in a 12-3 vote. The bill will be up for consideration by the full House of Representatives on Monday.  

Because of time constraints, the House Education Committee will take up HB 733 and HB 734   first thing Monday. The IEA will oppose the legislation.  

New Idaho Core Standards Approved   

Two legislative acts endorsing new math, English language arts and science standards were approved by the House Education Committee on Thursday in a bi-partisan vote. The bills represent a complex, and at times politically contentious, process.  

Educators, including IEA members, were part of a committee that worked with lawmakers on the new standards over the past year and IEA Executive Director Paul Stark told lawmakers that IEA members had reviewed the standards and “had a comfort level with this.”  

The committee approved two proposals on Thursday that together serve to replace the old standards by July 1: 

The legislation, sponsored by House Education Committee Chairman Lance Clow (R-Twin Falls), now moves on to the full House of Representatives for consideration, likely early next week.   

Here’s a thorough media report on the issue and Thursday’s committee vote. 

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