Education Improvement Task Force

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A state task force says reforming Idaho's teaching certification must be tied to increasing salaries in order to attract and retain quality teachers in public schools.

The 15-member committee spent most of Monday discussing details of implementing a new teacher pay system commonly known as the career ladder.

However, some members worry that state lawmakers will approve tougher certification requirements without providing funding for higher salaries.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A member of Idaho’s 'Task Force for Improving Education' has been kicked out of the group. Mike Lanza says he was told it was because he went to work for Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Democratic challenger.

Preparing students to excel in a fast-changing world is a concern for many nations.  Some countries, including our own, have implemented a variety of education reforms over recent decades, only to see piddling results. Others, including  Finland, South Korea and Poland, have realized major gains.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Democrats in Idaho’s Legislature unveiled four bills Wednesday they plan to introduce in the 2014 session that starts in January. The bills would implement the recommendations of the state’s education improvement task force.

Tom Luna
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho public schools chief Tom Luna is seeking a nearly 6 percent increase in funding next year for schools and teacher salaries.

Luna is also proposing helping high school juniors and seniors pay for dual-credit classes that help earn college credit before graduation.

The Republican unveiled his $1.37 billion budget for 2014-15 on Tuesday. He said the spending increase mirrors recommendations spelled out earlier this year by an education task force assembled by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter backed recommendations from an Idaho education task force, saying his top priority in 2014 and beyond will be restoring funding to school districts that have suffered recession-fueled cuts since 2008.

Otter told a Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce crowd Tuesday his top spending priority will be restoring $82.5 million in operational revenue lost by Idaho's 115 school districts.

Classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Idaho’s Task Force for Improving Education released its final recommendations Friday. Governor Butch Otter asked the State Board of Education to create the group last December after voters rejected the education laws known as Students Come First.  The 31 member task force was made up of representatives from several education groups.

Their recommendations include a unanimous recommendation to raise minimum teacher salaries from $31,000 to $40,000.  Plus they want to restructure the career ladder so experienced teachers could also make more money. 

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

A preliminary list of recommendations created by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's new Task Force for Improving Education shows a focus on recouping lost education dollars and improving the workforce by paying teachers more money.

The Idaho Statesman reports the preliminary list includes a draft recommendation to raise minimum teacher salaries from $31,000 to $40,000 statewide, and to seek to restore $82.5 million in operational revenue that school districts have lost since 2008.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Education Improvement Task Force finished a statewide listening tour Thursday night in Boise. The group was created to recommend ways to improve the state’s schools after voters repealed an education overhaul last November.

Thursday night’s public meeting was well attended compared to some past meetings. About 200 people squeezed into the state capital building’s Lincoln Auditorium and 37 spoke. It lasted more than two and a half hours.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Task Force for Improving Education wraps up a series of public meetings Thursday in Boise. The task force’s final public listening meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the state capital. 

It has been traveling Idaho for two weeks. The group’s goal is to put together recommendations for overhauling the state’s education system that can find broad support.

Courtesy of the Idaho Statesman

Idaho’s Education Improvement Task Force has started a statewide tour seeking public comment. The group was put together by the State Board of Education. It's been meeting since January to talk about ways to improve Idaho’s education system. It kicked off a seven city public meeting tour Wednesday night in Nampa. About 60 people attended and 19 spoke. Fewer than a third of the members of the 31 person task force attended the forum. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Task Force for Improving Education starts a whirlwind tour of the state this week. Members have been meeting since January to find education reforms with broad support. Governor Butch Otter asked the State Board of Education to put the group together after voters repealed a series of education laws last November. Now the task force wants public feedback.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s task force for improving education finished its first phase Friday. Now it goes on to phase two, public meetings. Governor Butch Otter asked Idaho’s State Board of Education to create the task force after voters overturned laws to overhaul the state’s education system.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s new Education Improvement Task Force started work Friday. Governor Butch Otter called for a group of stakeholders to come together to research and make recommendations for the state’s school system.

Task force member Anne Ritter calls the first meeting a good start to the conversation. Ritter is a member of the Meridian school board and president of the Idaho School Boards Association. She says the 31 member group’s big accomplishment so far is defining its goal and its job.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A new group begins work Friday to improve Idaho’s education system. Governor Butch Otter called for its creation after November’s repeal of education laws known as Students Come First.

The first challenge for the 31 people on the Education Improvement Task Force is getting along. Many of the individuals and the groups they represent have strong animosities toward each other. But one member, Idaho schools’ superintendent Tom Luna says it can work.

The task force meant to develop recommendations to improve education in Idaho could be called a team of rivals. Many of its 31 members have squared off, sometimes bitterly, in the past two years over the Students Come First education laws. Voters repealed those laws last November through three ballot propositions.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho governor Butch Otter last week said the State Board of Education would “shepherd” a statewide discussion about improving schools. That’s something the governor and many others have talked about since voters repealed an education overhaul last November. What’s being called the Education Improvement Task Force is scheduled to start work next week, but its member list is not complete.

It will have about 30 members. Ten stakeholder groups made nominations. One name we do know is Richard Westerberg. A member of the State Board of Education, Westerberg will chair the task force.