Education
11:23 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Mandatory Gym Class And Cursive Writing? Idaho Seeks Public Input

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education is proposing several new rules that would affect what kids learn. But creating a new education rule in Idaho is a bit like a soccer game. There’s a long period of passing back and forth before the goal is reached. Take this one: a proposal to require elementary students learn cursive handwriting.

That idea was kicked off last winter during the 2013 Idaho Legislature. After some vigorous back and forth lawmakers passed the ball. They voted to request the State Board of Education to create a rule. Schools’ Superintendent Tom Luna then stepped in. His department wrote a cursive rule and kicked it to the State Board. The board approved it and passed it back to Luna. Now there’s a timeout because Luna needs public comment before he can continue the play. The State Department of Education will collect comments on its website and at a public meeting October 8. Then Luna can kick it back to the board.  

If the board approves it again, they’ll pass it back to lawmakers who kicked it off in the first place. If an education committee approves the cursive requirement it becomes a state rule, which is pretty much indistinguishable from a law.

Luna also needs input on five other rules he proposed to the Board of Education. Those include requiring physical education for high school graduation. In that rule half the PE requirement could be met with an after school sport. But public policy soccer is thus far not approved by the Idaho High School Activities Association.

Here is where you can comment on the proposed rules.

And here are some details about them from the Idaho Department of Education press release.

Cursive Writing in Elementary Grades: This is a proposed rule. It would add the requirement that elementary students must learn cursive. It does not specify grades in elementary school where cursive instruction must occur, and standards for cursive writing are left up to each local school district to decide. After public comment, this rule will go back to the State Board at its special meeting in November before going to the Legislature in 2014 for final approval. (Reference: IDAPA 08.02.03.103)

ISAT for the Purpose of Graduation: This is a temporary rule. The rule allows students who pass the ISAT in the 9th grade to have completed their 10th grade ISAT for the purposes of graduation. Specifically, for the Class of 2016, students who have not passed the ISAT as 9th graders must do an alternative route crafted by the district in lieu of passing the 10th grade ISAT as the state is transitioning to more rigorous assessments in 2015. The rule also allows students to receive content credit for classes taken prior to high school, but the classes do not count toward fulfilling graduation requirements. This rule is in effect immediately but can be altered through public comment. This rule will go back to the State Board at its special meeting in November before going to the Legislature in 2014 for final approval. (Reference:  IDAPA 08.02.03.105)

Physical Education Requirements and Math and Science Course Offerings to Students: This is a proposed rule. Currently, physical education is required in elementary and middle grades, but no minimum time requirement exists. The proposed rule would establish minimum minute requirements for physical education in elementary school (60 minutes) and middle school (220 minutes). In high school, P.E. is required to be offered, but students do not have to take it in order to graduate. The rule would require students take two credits of P.E. as a graduation requirement. Students could earn at least one of their two required credits by playing a sport or other activity outside the school day. The activity must be sanctioned by the Idaho High School Activities Association or approved by the local school district. The rule also would require CPR training in at least one period of health class during high school as a graduation requirement.

After public comment, this rule will go back to the State Board at its special meeting in November before going to the Legislature in 2014 for final approval. (Reference: IDAPA 08.02.03.104, 105)

Endorsement Requirements: This is a proposed rule. The proposed rule revises endorsement requirements to align to changes to educator standards for: Standard Elementary Certificate, Driver Education (6-12). English (6-12), Gifted and Talented (K-12), Library Media Specialist (K-12), Literacy (K-12), Teacher Librarian (K-12) as well as changes to Administrator Certificate. The rule also changes the name of the group Idaho uses to accreditate its teacher education programs from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). After public comment, this rule will go back to the State Board at its special meeting in November before going to the Legislature in 2014 for final approval. (Reference: IDAPA 08.02.02.018, .021, .022, .023, .024, .026, .100)

Idaho Standards and Driver Education: This is a proposed rule. This proposed rule addresses standards for English Language Arts, Gifted and Talented, Library Media Specialist, Literacy, School Administrator foundation, Principal, School Superintendent and Special Education Director as well as proposed standards revisions to the Idaho Standards for Operating procedures for Idaho Public Driver Education Programs. After public comment, this rule will go back to the State Board at its special meeting in November before going to the Legislature in 2014 for final approval. (Reference:  IDAPA 08.02.02.004)

Mathematics In Service Program: This is a temporary and proposed rule. This rule articulates that standards incorporated into the “Mathematical Thinking for Instruction” courses may be taught by all Idaho-approved preparation programs under a variety of course titles. Each course must be approved by the State Department of Education to ensure fidelity in curriculum. The rule also clarifies language regarding Out-of-State Applicant requirements for the Idaho Comprehensive Literacy Course. This rule is in effect immediately but can be altered through public comment. This rule will go back to the State Board at its special meeting in November before going to the Legislature in 2014 for final approval. (Reference: IDAPA 08.02.02.016)

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