This week’s education headlines:
Teacher salaries: a breakdown. In 2017-18, Idaho’s average teacher salary reached $48,113, according to an Idaho Education News data analysis. This translates to a 3.6 percent increase, the largest in the three years of the rollout of Idaho’s $250 million teachers “career ladder.” This year, legislators will consider adding $41.7 million into the career ladder. https://www.idahoednews.org/news/idahos-average-teacher-salary-increases-3-6-percent/
Turmoil in New Plymouth. New Plymouth High School Principal Clete Edmunson was placed on paid administrative leave this week, after a tumultuous week in the Southwest Idaho district. The former legislator and gubernatorial aide abruptly resigned Tuesday; a day letter, he sought to rescind his resignation. On Wednesday, students walked out of class to show their support for Edmunson. https://www.idahoednews.org/news/new-plymouth-principal-rescinds-letter-resignation/
Tepid grades for Idaho schools. Idahoans are generally optimistic about the economy and the direction the state is going — but that sentiment does not extend to K-12. According to Boise State University’s annual Public Policy Survey, 63 percent of respondents rated Idaho’s K-12 system as fair or poor. And when Idahoans are asked whether schools are preparing high school graduates for the future, the numbers are even grimmer. https://www.idahoednews.org/kevins-blog/bsu-survey-idahoans-optimistic-not-k-12/
Evaluations bill derailed. The House Education Committee took the unusual step of killing one of the State Board of Education’s bills at the first step in the legislative process. The State Board said its bill was an attempt to clear up the contentious and confusing process of teacher evaluations. Lawmakers said they believed the bill would burden schools with additional paperwork requirements, taking resources away from the classroom. https://www.idahoednews.org/news/lawmakers-kills-bill-aimed-clear-evaluations-confusion/
Pre-K politics. While a recent statewide poll indicated widespread support for state-funded pre-K, the three major Republican candidates for governor all say they oppose the idea. But in 2014, Boise physician and developer Tommy Ahlquist supported a $600,000 state pre-K pilot bill. https://www.idahoednews.org/kevins-blog/analysis-tommy-ahlquist-pre-k-now/ And a year ago, Lt. Gov. Brad Little joined a group of early childhood education advocates in speaking for pre-K at legislative hearings. https://www.idahoednews.org/kevins-blog/ahlquist-little-reject-state-funded-pre-k-push/
Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger with Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org.) Idaho Education News is an independent news site focused on education policy and politics, funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Richert has worked in the Idaho news media since 1985, as a reporter, editor, and columnist.