The Idaho Education Association wants the state to require smaller classes, extend the school day and year and raise taxes to pay for a more than $700 million backlog in school facility needs.
More than 400 teachers at the association’s annual delegate assembly during the weekend approved calling for the 1998 Legislature to consider sweeping education reform that would cap kindergarten through sixth-grade classes at 20 students and seventh through 12th-grade classes at 25 students.
Representatives of the state’s largest teachers union also recommended:
Extending the school year from 190 to 200 days, with some of that time used for parental contact and professional development for teachers.
Keeping schools open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to offer educational services such as computer and library access during the early morning and late afternoon hours. Child care and additional physical education opportunities also would be available.
Encouraging more involvement from parents by “establishing effective systems to ensure all parents attend at least two parent-teacher conferences per year, regardless of grade level.”
The association also wants incentives created for local businesses to allow working parents to volunteer at least one hour each month in their children’s school during the regular school day.
Assigning experienced teachers to mentor new teachers for at least one year.
Creating a Teaching Intern Certificate for teachers during their first three years. A decision whether to issue a continuing “Professional Training Certificate” would come at the end of the third year.
Increasing an existing tax or create a new one to help school districts address building needs and class size caps.
A strongly worded resolution that called for banning tobacco advertising and vending machines failed after opponents said the association could discourage membership by getting too involved in private sector business decisions. However, a call to ban government subsidies of tobacco products was approved.
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