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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Recommendation: More than triple professional development hours for teachers

Stefani Cook, chair of the Classroom Technology Integration subcommittee of the technology task force and 2011 Idaho teacher of the year, said her panel recommends developing a "comprehensive plan clearly explaining and linking the various components of Students Come First and the timeline for its implementation," addressing one-to-one computers, wireless Internet, classroom technology integration, online learning, the state's new longitudinal data system, Schoolnet, common core state standards, teacher and administrator evaluation, student assessment and more. "If there's not a comprehensive plan, how will this ever come together?" Cook asked.

The group also is recommending more than tripling professional development hours for teachers within the school calendar; and distributing technology integration funds to districts based on the state's school funding formula on a specific schedule, with the largest payments coming in the fall and smaller ones in the spring.

Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, expressed concern about increasing professional development hours that take teachers out of the classroom from a maximum of 22 hours to a maximum of 72 hours. "I'm always concerned about the number of classroom hours that a teacher really isn't in the classroom," Jaquet said. Cook responded, "To effectively integrate technology, teachers are going to have to learn how to do it, but they're going to need some time." She said the additional training will make the teachers more effective when they are with students.

Linda Clark, Meridian schools superintendent, questioned how districts could pay for it. "The bottom line is we currently have no resources to deliver this," she said. Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, said, "That would represent a considerable financial commitment on the part of the state if we were to fund that." Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Meridian, called it "a key piece of whether this succeeds or fails."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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