Posts tagged: education
During the recession, Idaho’s public school budget cuts were among the deepest in the nation. And while Idaho’s 2013-14 public school budget included a $28.6 million increase, the added money merely kept pace with inflation and enrollment growth. These are two findings from a national study, released this month by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit think tank. The center’s reports put Idaho’s K-12 cuts into national perspective; Idaho is among at least 34 states that are spending less per pupil than they did in 2008-09. And the report comes just as Idaho education stakeholders are making a concerted push to reverse K-12 budget cuts — with initial support from Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna/Kevin Richert, The EDge, IdahoED News. More here.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has sent a guest opinion out to Idaho newspapers declaring that education is the state's top economic priority. “We have a variety of incentive programs designed to foster business opportunities in Idaho, but the most important thing we’re able to provide is our people,” the governor writes. “Idahoans are creative, resourceful and hard working – exactly what growing businesses need. But we also need to provide graduates who are prepared. Education is the key to higher-paying jobs. Full story.
Gov. Otter signaled his intent to avoid a clash over quick action on education reform, recommending that a task force he is creating return with recommendations for action in 2014.
Following the Nov. 6 defeat of the three Otter-backed Students Come First laws, both Otter and other GOP leaders had suggest they might seek to act as soon as the 2013 session. Otter said he'd seen polling that indicated Idahoans agreed with that approach.
But leaders of the repeal came out firmly against immediate action, saying that all stakeholders needed to be consulted before any new changes are proposed.
Otter adopted a similar approach in an article sent to Idaho newspapers Thursday, in which he outlined how he hopes members of the task force are selected and quoted the president of the Idaho teachers' union, among others. Idaho Statesman Read more.
Is it just me, or is government the only entity that considers creating a task force taking action? Does this bode well for the future education in Idaho?
The latest campaign commercial in the fight over whether to repeal Idaho's controversial school reform laws is running statewide, including in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene market. John Foster, a lobbyist and political consultant who's behind the new “Parents for Education Reform” PAC that's running the ad, declined to identify its financial backers. “We'll file our disclosure reports at the appropriate time, but we're happy to receive enough support to get this ad off the ground, and hopefully do more,” Foster said. “This PAC is just one piece of a larger effort to spread the message of education reform in Idaho, and we'll be announcing more about that in the coming days. It's an effort that is not wholly about this campaign or this election season, it's bigger than that and will go beyond and past November”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Former NFL star Alan Page challenges North Central High School students to learn how to learn and spoke of the value of education Thursday during a gathering at the Spokane school. John Stucke story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)
There are several states in the U.S. that are losing the eduction race to most of the others. In the past decade, these states have declining math and reading scores, lower numbers of people with bachelor’s degrees, and comparatively fewer residents who hold white collar jobs.
Colorado, Michigan, and eight others are losing this competition to states who have residents that are better educated and who have done a better job obtaining higher quality jobs. These failing states have lost ground compared to the national average.
The recent State of the Union address, and almost any sweeping political speech or document that writes or speaks about unemployment and future competition for jobs, impresses the point that a well educated workforce–a smart workforce–has comparative advantages. Read more.
Guess what state is #4? That's right. Idaho:
In 2000, 84.7% of adults in Idaho had completed high school. By 2009, the number had dropped to 83.3%. This decrease of 1.71% is the third worst rate in the country. Idaho had the eighth worst percent difference in residents with bachelor’s degrees from 2000 to 2009, and the sixth worst percent difference in residents with advanced degrees.
Do you think anyone in the legislature is paying attention to stories like this?
H/T Christa Hazel
As Idaho voters make clear their displeasure with cuts to public education spending, the men running to lead the state’s schools for the next four years are campaigning in relative obscurity.
A poll of 625 people likely to vote in the Nov. 2 election shows that 56 percent think per-pupil spending on K-12 public education is too low. The poll, conducted by The Spokesman-Review and six other daily Idaho newspapers, also shows that 23 percent of voters remain undecided about the race for superintendent of public instruction, possibly because some don’t know who’s running.
While GOP incumbent Tom Luna leads Democratic challenger Stan Olson 47 percent to 30 percent, the poll shows that 18 percent of respondents don’t recognize Luna’s name – giving him by far the lowest name recognition of any incumbent running in a statewide race this year. Olson, the just-retired Boise School District superintendent, is unknown to 53 percent of poll respondents. Full story. Ben Botkin, Times News
Are you happy with public education in Idaho?
Recent news that Texas education leaders have overhauled textbook requirements has alarmed some educators and politicians. But the news is frightening only if you’re under the false impression that textbooks our kids use are anything close to accurate today. Of course, that’s not the case. Not by a long short. Our children are being fed a steady diet of statist propaganda, and from that, it is little wonder why our country has veered so far to the Left. The design is in the coursework and intentional indoctrination of our children/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Do you think your children’s textbooks are an accurate reflection of the nation’s history and times? Or are they full of political propaganda, as Wayne Hoffman contends?
No Idaho teacher will be surprised by Nonini’s bald expression of resentment toward “those people” in the classroom. It helps explain the motivation behind much of what he has done as a legislator, and probably helps explain why Speaker Lawerence Denney appointed him to head the Education Committee. When speakers support the state’s public school system, they put education supporters in charge of that committee. When they don’t, they don’t/Jim Fisher, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you agree with opinionator Fisher that House GOP leadership appointed Nonini to chair the Education Committee because he’s against public education?
Item: CdA district plans Kindercenter: School in Hayden Lake aims to ease crowding/Sara Leaming, SR
More Info: Amanda Crowder showed up at Ramsey Elementary School on Wednesday night admittedly “a little freaked out.” Like the parents of about 300 incoming kindergarten students in the Coeur d’Alene School District, Crowder recently learned her son, Braeden, will attend a kindergarten center in the fall, instead of his neighborhood school.
Question: Do you support the concept of a Kindercenter at the old Hayden Elementary School for the Coeur d’Alene School District?
Legislators are shoving for position as Gov. Butch Otter takes another step toward reshaping the State Board of Education with his fourth appointment to the eight-member board. Last week, a confrontation between House Education Committee Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, and Lt. Gov. Brad Little underscored the stakes as lawmakers jockey for their favorites. Nonini has a favorite for the job and let Little know. The appointment is the first major post to be vetted by Little since he took office last month. Otter assigned Little to review candidates for jobs that require Senate confirmation before Otter makes his nominations. But Nonini made his point to the even-tempered Little in such a loud voice that word of the incident quickly spread through legislative circles. “There was an issue,” Little confirmed. “He was pretty exercised and was talking about holding up the governor’s state board package”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you support any of Nonini’s choices to replace Sue Thilo on the state Board of Education — Lorna Finman/Post Falls, president of LCF Enterprises; Jim Faucher, a retired hospital VP, and Fred Ostermeyer, a former NIC board chairman?
Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, now says his controversial bills to make permanent cuts in laws governing school funding and teacher contracts may not be needed at all, what with big money coming Idaho’s way from the federal stimulus package. “It looks like Idaho could be in line for $160 million and some of that money could be available as soon as next week,” Nonini said. Some of the federal money is designed specifically “so teachers don’t get cuts in salary, teachers don’t get laid off and programs don’t get cut,” Nonini said. “We all thought it would be best to just not rush into the hearings”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, the House Education Committee chairman, proposed two far-ranging bills this morning to make permanent changes in state law to allow cuts in Idaho’s public school funding. Among them: No state funding for field trips, including academic outings, ever again. All school district contracts with staff would expire at the end of every fiscal year, and no terms or conditions could carry over beyond that. Idaho would repeal the law that requires no reduction in salary or contract days for experienced teachers. School districts could impose reductions in force regardless of contract terms/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Do you support Rep. Bob Nonini’s proposals?
Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, commended Luna for focusing on preserving the time that teachers spend with students. In nearly 20 years as an elementary school principal, Hammond said, he concluded, “The thing that I would need more than anything else is the people that are working for me. I could live without new textbooks for a year, I could live without the computer purchases.” He said it’d also be preferable for workers to take a pay cut than have layoffs. Luna said his proposal for cuts in state funding for pay for teachers and school administrators, implemented as school districts see fit, allows for that/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Would you willingly accept a pay cut if it meant preserving other jobs at your workplace?
Item: Teacher-student sex targeted: Lawmakers, others want tough law after state court ruling on 18-year-olds/Rich Roesler, SR Eye On Olympia
More Info: It’s not illegal for a teacher to have consensual sex with an 18-year-old student, a state appeals court said two weeks ago. The response from state lawmakers: Well, it ought to be. House and Senate legislators want to ban any sexual contact between school employees and students when there’s more than five years’ difference in their ages. Violations would be a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Question: This is simple common sense, right? Anyone want to argue that 18-year-olds are adults with the right to vote — so they should be able to date whom they want?
Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, asked Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas if perhaps he should consider charging differential tuition - higher for high-cost programs, perhaps, that also set students up to earn big incomes once they’ve completed them. “Perhaps we should look at some kind of differential tuition?” he asked Vailas, at ISU’s budget hearing this morning in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Would you support Sen. Jim Hammond’s call for a sliding tuition scale, based on the type of degree an Idaho university student is pursuing?
Item: 6 religious students claims Boise State discriminates/Idaho Statesman
More Info: Six Boise State University students have filed suit in federal court complaining that Boise State Universities does not permit use of student activity fees for religious groups. Attorneys for Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom in Springfield, Va., filed the lawsuit Thursday. The complaint alleges the school’s policy violates the First Amendment and is viewpoint discrimination. The suit asks that BSU be prevented from requiring and allocating student activity fees until it stops its policy.
Question: Does Boise State’s policy discriminate against student religious groups?