State of the State speech During the annual speech that kicks off the legislative session, Otter listed education funding as his top priority. “Ultimately, my education funding proposals are about doing the right thing for the next generation of Idahoans.” Line items include $58 million for teacher pay raises, $15 million to offset rising health insurance costs and $10 million for classroom technology. Details here.
Staying the course? While acknowledging the voter frustration that played out in November’s elections, Otter stuck to familiar themes Monday. He restated support for his five-year K-12 plan and pretty much punted on taxes, health care and highways. But Otter insists that the state’s education system is in the middle of change — because a third year of teacher raises comes with an increased focus on accountability. Details here.
Heather Scott’s demotion On Thursday, House Speaker Scott Bedke stripped the outspoken North Idaho lawmaker of her committee assignments — a swift response to news reports about Scott’s claim that female lawmakers only advance in leadership if they “spread their legs.” Scott has signed on to a variety of education causes, from repealing Idaho Core Standards and standardized tests to relaxing a constitutional ban on using public dollars to support church-run schools. She can still propose bills, but she ends the first week of the session a legislative back-bencher. Details here.
Science standards Last year, lawmakers rejected an attempt to rewrite the state’s science standards, which addressed climate change and other hot-button topics. The issue will be back this session. Here’s what to expect.
Snow days, and days and days … Across Idaho, the wild winter of 2017 has put many schools on ice. School administrators are scrambling to make up for lost classroom time.
... and catching up Meanwhile, teachers are trying to make sure their most vulnerable students stay on track.
Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger with Idaho Education News, an independent news site focused on K-12 policy and politics funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Richert has worked as an Idaho reporter, editor and columnist since 1985.