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Posts published in “Day: March 6, 2015”

On tiered licensing

manning TRAVIS


The big hand of government is heavy. Right now, Idaho lawmakers are attempting to swipe local control from Idaho’s school districts and charters with House Bill 222, the career ladder and tiered licensure plan.

With only a couple weeks left, lawmakers finally decided to bring out this 33-page behemoth of a bill. Lawmakers got sidetracked this session with the Idaho Education Network debacle so put off dealing with this controversial legislation until now.

Idaho legislators are fond of railing against the federal government, demanding that Idaho have control of its own destiny, from healthcare to wilderness, environmental policy to education. Ironically, state lawmakers then hamstring local municipalities.

Gov. Otter and legislative leaders have touted the need to attract and retain high quality teachers in Idaho, but House Bill 222 doesn’t do that. This plan barely moves the needle in terms of attracting teachers because of all the heavy handed mandates couched in this proposal.

Teachers entering the education field have plummeted the past five years. Some districts have resorted to head-hunting organizations like Teach For America because they are desperate to hire for hard-to-fill positions. Provisional certification can be given to someone with a degree who wants to try out teaching, but it’s with little support. Districts are hiring hundreds of student teachers under emergency licenses because they have no other options.

And the big hand of government is trying to help fix the problem? I say, get out of the way and let’s have an open and honest conversation about political agendas getting ahead of truly improving Idaho’s public schools.

HB 222 makes teachers accountable for conditions over which they have little or no control. It is entirely unfair to connect a majority of student test scores to teachers, when there are so many factors that influence a child. Teachers are not afraid of accountability, but tying student test scores to teacher pay is flat out unethical.

There is nothing in the state Constitution about adequate tax breaks for corporations. Just ask IACI President Alex LaBeau, who’s recent email rant against teachers reveals a corporate entitlement attitude all too prevalent here in Idaho.

Disturbingly, the tiered licensure plan being pushed by the Idaho House was sold to the Governor’s taskforce on education last year with misleading data released from the Idaho State Department of Education. Department data only included white students. When comparing Idaho to other states with similar demographics, and excluding Idaho’s nearly 20 percent minority student population, it made Idaho’s data look bad. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

IACI suspends president, re-evaluates after email (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Boise considers homelessness, may consider SLC (Boise Statesman)
Batt, Andrus sue on nuclear waste (Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Clearwater Paper president will retire (Lewiston Tribune)
Gritman hospital buys more property (Moscow News)
Canyon complaints rise over Deer Flat (Nampa Press Tribune)
Kimberly, Nuhl plan recreation districts (TF Times News)
SkyWest brings on a third flight to TF (TF Times News)

Eugene seeks to block Uber over safety issues (Eugene Register Guard)
Trustees approve tuition raise at UO (Eugene Register Guard)
KF gets new police chief (KF Herald & News)
Experts predicting big fires this summer (Medford Tribune)
Ashland schools reconsider transfer agreements (Medford Tribune)
Brown prepares to sign motor voter bill (Portland Oregonian, Medford Tribune)
Oregon COO Jordan quits (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesan Journal, Pendleton E Oregonian)

Inslee talks carbon tax at WWU (Bellingham Herald)
Last run of the USS Ranger (Bremerton Sun)
Everett council member named in juvenile lockup report (Everett Herald)
Oso mudslide legislation still moves ahead (Everett Herald)
Looking at rise in gas prices (Longview News)
Port of Kalama park construction underway (Longview News)
Ilwaco boat yard picks up business from Astoria (Longview News)
North Bonneville city opens pot shop (Seattle Times)
Microsoft tries selling smart phone overseas (Seattle Times)
Idaho Medicaid wants $250k from clinic (Spokane Spokesman)
Early Spokane charter schools filling (Spokesman Spokesman)
Tacoma housing market heats up again (Tacoma News Tribune)
New CEO Patel takes over at Franciscan (Tacoma News Tribune)
Job market holding strong (Vancouver Columbian)