Idaho’s educational success and accountability can only happen with involvement and transparency. Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra’s announcement that her Red Tape Committee would meet in private to evaluate accountability, teacher evaluations, school performance, college advising and continuous improvement plans is ill fated at best. Idaho’s current ranking for school performance and spending are ranked #47 and #49 in the nation. Simply put our schools are failing to educate and prepare our students for their future. It is unclear how closed door committee meetings benefit the state’s overall educational goals. The primary reason for these meetings is to evaluate accountability. Yet, this committee’s announcement that it consulted lawyers to confirm the legality of closed door meetings leads one to believe that this committee has no intentions of being transparent Accessibility to these meetings should include a wide spectrum of front-line teachers, students and community members. This inclusion would provide a better base of support and buy-in to proposed plans, evaluation criteria, and accountability procedures. By holding closed meetings this committee must take on the full weight and responsibility of their proposals. This seems unlikely given their lack of willingness to allow representation from those directly impacted.
Ellie Cowan and Joel Hilty-Jones, Boise