Education committees schedule listening session
The House and Senate education committees will hold a joint public “listening session” next week.
The “listening session” was announced Monday, three days after the budget-writing Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee canceled public hearings on the budget. Sen. Dean Cameron, a Rupert Republican and co-chairman of JFAC, said the committee’s public hearings were cancelled at the request of legislative leadership.
The listening session will be held from 8 to 10:30 a.m., on Feb. 1, at the Statehouse’s west wing auditorium.
Speakers will have up to three minutes to testify, and the committees will take written testimony. Comments can be sent by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
House Education Committee to take up cursive handwriting bill
After taking Friday and Monday off, members of the House Education Committee are set to reconvene at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, will seek to introduce a cursive handwriting bill.
Bateman, a longtime educator and student teacher supervisor, has said he thinks cursive handwriting is a forgotten art that he wants to protect as the proliferation of electronic and written communication continues.
Among colleagues and friends, Bateman is known for writing lengthy, hand-written letters penned in cursive. He even used handwritten messages and notes as part of his campaign literature and advertising in Idaho Falls last year.
Committee members on Tuesday also are set to hear from Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas, who made his budget presentation to members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Monday morning.
Governor’s Education Task Force meets Friday
The governor’s 31-member Education Task Force will meet for the second time on Friday. The meeting will be held at the Yanke Research Park (220 ParkCenter). The meetings is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to the public. An agenda will be released later today. Check here for details. Some of the original members are not available this Friday but they plan to send representatives to the meeting.
Students participate in MLK Day events
Hundreds of people of all ages crowded into the Capitol on Monday to participate in rallies staged for Martin Luther King Jr. and Idaho Human Rights Day.
Under the rotunda, Lt. Gov. Brad Little read a proclamation commemorating “these great words” from King’s famous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.
A short time later, the Rev. Percy “Happy” Walker delivered an updated rendition of King’s speech.
Several school groups took advantage of they day off –not by skiing – but by attending rallies at the Capitol.
Fifth-grade teacher Sonia Galaviz brought a group of 22 Garfield Elementary School students to attend the rallies. Galaviz said her students spent the last three weeks working on a Civil Rights unit. Monday’s programs offered Galaviz a chance to bring those lessons to life for her students.
“It’s a powerful representation of Civil Rights and making your voice heard for equality,” Galaviz said.
Music is the message
A group of children and teenagers attending Boise Rock School shared a message of equality during Martin Luther King Jr. Day ceremonies by plugging in and rocking out at the Capitol.
Four young students from the independent music school performed U2’s rock hit “Pride (In the Name of Love)” on the Capitol’s first floor.
Using a drum machine and electric guitars and a bass, the students performed the song entirely on their own.
The song references King and includes the lyrics “Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/ Free at last, they took your life/ They could not take your pride.”
Jillian Dinucci, a 12-year-old who attends East Junior High School, sang and played bass with the Boise Rock School band. She said the young musicians rehearsed “Pride” last week in order to perform it Monday.
“It was cool being on the (first) floor because everyone was staring down at us,” Jillian said, referencing the throngs of spectators who looked down from under the rotunda to watch her band play.
Although Jillian said she loved playing music, she especially enjoyed the Rev. Percy “Happy” Walker’s rendition of King’s speech.
“I really liked hearing the ‘dream’ speech,” Jillian said.