Thursday, March 3, 2011

House Education Committee Approves Two Parts of Students Come First Reform

The House Education Committee today approved two of the three bills that make up the Students Come First education reform package, crafted by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. 

“This is another important step in the process to reform Idaho’s public education system,” Superintendent Luna said. “The current system makes it nearly impossible to reward excellent teachers and very difficult to address poor teaching. If we truly want to put students first, we must remove the barriers to both. That is what these two bills accomplish.”

Senate Bill 1108 returns authority and flexibility to the locally elected school boards by phasing out tenure, limiting master agreements to one year, tying teacher and administrator evaluations to student achievement, and giving Idaho parents input on teacher performance evaluations.  Senate Bill 1110 implements a pay-for-performance plan that will recognize and reward Idaho’s teachers for working in hard-to-fill positions, taking on leadership responsibilities, and working in a school that shows academic growth. 

These bills now will move to the full House for approval. The Idaho Senate approved these two bills last week.

The third bill in the Students Come First education reform package – Senate Bill 1113 – is in the Senate Education Committee where senators are working on further improvements to the legislation. After changes are made, a new bill will likely be introduced. This bill reforms the classroom and better prepare Idaho kids for the 21st century by stabilizing the state’s public schools budget, restoring teacher pay, infusing an unprecedented amount of technology in the classroom, and requiring students to take online courses before graduation. 

Learn more about the Students Come First reform plan. 

~ Melissa M.

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