A new task force charged with developing recommendations to improve public education in the state is poised to begin its work.
The 31-member group met for the first time Friday in Boise.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter proposed the idea last month and asked the State Board of Education to appoint members, lead the discussion and develop a series of recommendations in time for the 2014 Legislature.
Idaho Statesman editorial page editor Kevin Richert is live tweeting the meeting from his account (@KevinRichert). Below are his tweets from newest to oldest:
Rod Lewis: We need to build confidence and trust that money is being spent effectively.
At gov's ed task force's first meeting, far-ranging discussion of potential focus areas. It'll be interesting to see how it's drilled down.
Goedde: 80 to 85 percent of school spending is in compensation, but no differentiation between good teachers and those just hanging on.
Lanza: We need to ask why our H.S. grads aren't going to college. Could be financial, demographic or cultural factors at play.
Clark: we need to find the balance between reasonable support and how we use those resources creatively.
Clark: Somewhere in this conversation, we need to discuss what is the floor level for funding for schools. Agrees with SBOE 60 percent goal.
Linda Clark, Meridian superintendent: Students ranking ahead of us are spend 3x or 4x as much per pupil as we have in Meridian schools.
Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise: We may need to think about incentives for great teachers. Reduced student loans, for exmple.
DeMordaunt: "I don't want to squash any ideas." Ideas should be based on one outcome: the improvement of our kids.
IEA Cyr talks about teachers gaining time - year-round schools, should days be longer? Should student time be more focused?
Lanza: How do we encourage more parental involvement as well?
The "C" word came up. Consolidation of resources would help rural districts. Others - cooperation and gaining confidence.
Michael Lanza: Can we "encourage or incentivize" local school districts to become more accountability? Tie dollars to goals?
Goedde, following on accountability; "How do we get rid of a school district that's not functioning, or a school that's not functioning?"
Bob Lokken: With local control there must be accountability, to the classroom. "A goal without any accountability is largely just a slogan."
Alex LaBeau, IACI: Not just a teacher training issue. Is there training for school boards? They have "passion." Do they have training?
Michael Lanza: What are we trying to fix? SBOE goal, 60 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds with degrees/certificates by 2020, provides a focus.
DeMordaunt: One metric should be not achievement, but growth. "Are our children growing?"
Reed DeMordaunt, House Ed chairman: Goal should not be to be No. 24 or 26 in metrics. "Idaho ought to want to be No. 1."
Anne Ritter, Meridian SB: Give boards latitude. Get away from one-size-fits-all notion. Build on reforms already going on locally. #idedu
Facilitator Rush asks group for topics to discuss. 16 sheets of paper on the wall. Use -it-or lose it is necessary to keep budgets whole.
Goedde says classroom technology should remain focus. Maybe we set aside money in a grant program. Focus too on tech training for teachers.
Next up, Mike Rush, SBOE. Says we have a large task force, "(but) we don't even touch" on number of people who want to give input.
Edmunds: "We've got to find some way to make meaningful change." For today, let's come up with list of issues where task force will focus.
Edmunds: The $33 million is a "carrot" for the task force.
Edmunds: Many of us have served on education groups before. "What are we going to this time that's different?"
Next up, Ken Edmunds, SBOE: $33 million for task force would come from a $318.4 million 2014 line item for "discretionary" school spending.
Back from break. John Goedde, Senate Ed chair, says 2013 budget may have some unallocated money that the task force can "directly" consider.
Headlee: Otter's 2014 education budget recommends $33.9 million line item for "stakeholder input." In effect, funds task force initiatives.
Headlee: Moving the $30.6 million into some other program would require two-thirds vote from JFAC.
Headlee: The $30.6 million at stake represents 2.4 percent of public schools' 2013 general fund appropriation.
Headlee: If Legislature does nothing with the $30.6 million, it transfers into the public schools reserve (which now has about $49 million).
Headlee: At this point, about $30.6 million of money for Props 1, 2 and 3 is unallocated.
Headlee: 2013 budget contained $89.2 million for Props 1, 2 and 3. $43.8 million has been spent, largely on merit pay.
Headlee: There are "significant indirect impacts" on 2013 budget, based on repeal of Props 1, 2 and 3.
Idaho's go-on rate is 49 percent, low national comparison rate. Mississippi at 77 percent.
Next up, Paul Headlee, Legislative Services Office, to discuss fiscal impact of repeal of Propositions 1, 2 and 3.
Lewis: Idaho is at a crossroard. Is rate of school improvement sufficient? Or do we see the target as a moving target?
Lewis: 49.1 percent of Idaho high school grads are going on to college. Higher rates are in states with more rigorous H.S. requirements.
Lewis: Idaho is last in degree attainment among WICHE states (34 percent).
Lewis on State Board of Ed goal: 60 percent of Idahoans, aged 25-34, should have at least some postsecondary degree or credential, by 2020.
Lewis: Idaho ranks 24th in reading proficiency.
Lewis: Student scores have improved in math, science and reading, but "despite our improvement, we still have a long way to go."
Rod Lewis of State Board of Education is next up at task force, says he will attempt to establish "framework" for group's discussions.
Westerberg: Task force will meet in two weeks, and again in four weeks, in light of 2013 legislative session. Future meetings TBD.
Westerberg, State Board of Ed, task force chair: Group will not discuss labor negotiation issues or 2013 budget before Legislature.
I'm live-tweeting at the governor's ed task force's inaugural meeting. Stay tuned for updates.