A new batch of evaluations numbers. Administrators did a better job of making sure teacher evaluations meet the state law. But administrators remain confused about the law and the process. Those were two takeaways from a spot review of evaluations, released by the State Board of Education on Thursday.
What happens next? Lawmakers have some big decisions ahead. They have to decide whether to fund another $62 million in teacher pay raises, and whether they want Gov. Butch Otter’s State Board or state Superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s State Department of Education to take the lead on training administrators. On Friday, two powerful lawmakers made another push for the pay raises.
“Hey, hey, ho, ho, DeVos has got to go.” The furor over polarizing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos shows no signs of subsiding. On Thursday, students had their say. Hundreds of them showed up at the Statehouse for an anti-DeVos rally, and were joined by a few legislators.
Go-on rates. In 2016, only 46 percent of Idaho’s high school graduates enrolled in college — matching the disappointing 2015 go-on rate. But the State Board took some comfort in another set of numbers. Enrollment increased at the state’s colleges and universities, and the State Board thinks its new “direct admissions” program is making a difference.
Funding formula. It’s going to take another year for lawmakers to finish their job of rewriting Idaho’s school funding formula — and they’ll need about $400,000 to hire consultants and buy software. In 2018, they hope to have recommendations for updating a formula that has been in place since 1994. “The real heavy lifting is coming,” said Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise.
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 a reporter, editor and columnist in Idaho since 1985.