The Capitol Auditorium is full and overflowing as the second “listening session” on education of this year’s legislative session kicks off this afternoon. House Education Chairman Reed DeMordaunt said first the joint House and Senate education committees will hear from representatives of stakeholders – Robin Nettinga of the IEA, Anne Ritter, president of the Idaho School Boards Association, and Rob Winslow of the Idaho Association of School Administrators.
Nettinga told lawmakers, “The IEA and our members respect and value the legislative process, however, given the results of the last election, the comments of the governor in his State of the State addresss,” and the convening of an education stakeholders task force, “We are frustrated with the process.” She said the public sees no difference between the stakeholders task force and the pending legislation, including measures seeking to revive portions of the voter-rejected Proposition 1, which limited teacher collective bargaining rights. “Without public buy-in, change will not be embraced, and … the entire process risks failure,” she said.
The first member of the public to be called up was Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby. “I feel very comfortable speaking to all of you, but I’m really intimidated with what’s behind me,” she said to laughter from the big audience behind her. Wood said she wanted to speak for small, rural schools. “Our very small school has suffered for many reasons; one of them is remoteness,” she said. Wood said she was disappointed when Proposition 3, requiring a big new tech boost, failed, because she felt it was her rural school's chance at “equality.” “Maybe we can do a pilot project,” she said. You can watch live here.