SBE Tiered Certification Rule
The proposed rule on tiered certification poses a number of concerns for teachers. Here are just a few issues teachers have identified with the rule. You are welcome to use one or more of these identified concerns as you compose your comments to the State Board. Please remember that the most compelling comments provide personal examples. Submit your comments using the form on the Tiered Certification page.
- This proposed rule tying evaluation to certification is a complete departure from Idaho’s current practice of teacher certification. Job performance and employment is the responsibility of the local school district. Licensure is a state responsibility. These two responsibilities are both very important and are also very different; they should not be confused or meshed.
- A local evaluation should never be tied to one’s certification. Teachers should never feel that their livelihood and profession could be taken from their because of a poor performance evaluation. There is already a very effective mechanism to deal with bad teachers through the Professional Standards Commission.
- Even with a state-mandated evaluation tool/system, the fact remains that an evaluation can look very different from building to building and from district to district. Because of the imprecise nature of evaluations and the human factor involved, Idaho should not be tying evaluation to certification.
- One of the recommendations coming from the 2013 Taskforce for Improving Education urged that local school districts be empowered and autonomy to ensure they were agile, adaptive, and innovative.
- The proposed rule completely ignores this recommendation, and in fact, further strips away local control. For instance, in Section 02.f (found on page 6 of the rule posted on the State Board of Education’s website), any teacher who does not meet the requirements necessary to renew a Professional Certificate is required to be placed on a local improvement plan. Idaho law clearly gives the power and authority for placing on improvement plans or probation, individual teachers who do not meet locally-determined teaching expectations. This rule would take that autonomy away from a local district.
- Each school district has always been responsible for determining their employment standards related to the evaluation of employees. The proposed rule strips districts of that autonomy by setting the bar for what an individual’s evaluation must include or must not include to be considered acceptable. This is another example of the state’s elimination of local autonomy.
Recruitment and Retention of Quality Staff
- Many Idaho school districts are already experiencing difficulty recruiting and retaining quality teaching staff. For the past several years, the IEA has requested from the SDE, information re: teacher certification. During the Great Recession, we saw record numbers of teachers retiring and leaving the profession. While those numbers are leveling off, we are now beginning to see serious declines in teacher certification.
- For instance, the number of new teaching certificates issued to teachers in Idaho has averaged at about 1200 per year. This past year (2013-14) that number dropped to by 30% to 866.
- Over the past 6 years, the number of teaching certificates issued to out of state applicants have averaged about 650 per year. This past year (2013-14) that number dropped by nearly 90%. Just 68 new certificates were issued to individuals outside Idaho to teach in our state.
- Idaho is already at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states when posting job openings in our local school districts. For years, Idaho has paid lower salaries than most neighboring states. The gap continues to widen. This new rule will further exacerbate the struggle local school districts are experiencing to hire and retain qualified staff. Think about this scenario:
An individual is nearing graduation and deciding where to teach. The choices are to move from Idaho with the promise of immediate and full certification and a higher salary or stay in Idaho and work for a lower salary and have only a provisional certificate and absolutely no guarantee of certification for at least 3 years or longer. Why would any professional stay in Idaho? This new system will be another wedge that drives highly trained professional educators away from Idaho.