New committees pick up task force work

A group of nearly 40 educators and state leaders is continuing the push to implementation of a set of 20 school reform recommendations.

Task Force April 2014

Richard Westerberg, Sen. John Goedde and Rep. Reed DeMordaunt participate in Monday’s Education Improvement Committees meeting in Boise.

Members of the State Board of Education’s Education Improvement Committees met for the first time Monday at Boise State University.

The committees – broken down into subgroups studying education structure and governance and career ladder/teacher licensure – are charged with filling out and devising strategies for implementing the 20 recommendations issued last summer by Gov. Butch Otter’s Task Force for Improving Education.

“(Our mission is to) take the recommendations the original task force made and do the detail work to put them in a position to be implementable by the Legislature or whichever regulatory body is appropriate,” Richard Westerberg, chairman of the original task force, said Monday.

During the 2014 legislative session that concluded March 20, lawmakers partially implemented 13 of the 20 task force recommendations. None of the 20 recommendations are fully implemented and lawmakers did not move on seven of them.

“It’s clearly an effort that will require a lot of work,” Westerberg said. “In many cases, the task force made recommendations that don’t have a lot detail. We need to be thorough so, at the end of the day, we have recommendations that are implementable.”

The new committees, which may be broken down again into even smaller groups, are expected to report to members of the State Board of Education and Otter by August or September.

An additional committee examining student literacy will also be convened.

Committee members recognize that the stakes are high with recommendations expected to cost up to $400 million or more. Remaining recommendations include wholesale changes to the teacher pay system and the way students advance through the K-12 education system.

“My hope for this committee is we can throw out the current system,” Capital High School Teacher Cindy Wilson said. “The seat-time concept doesn’t allow for the individualized instruction we are talking about here.”

Monday’s meeting also cleared up an issue about participation in the groups. Last week, Mike Lanza of Idaho Parents and Teachers Together said he was told not to participate in the committees after he accepted work with A.J. Balukoff’s gubernatorial campaign. George Harad, also of Idaho Parents and Teachers Together, took Lanza’s place – although Lanza did attend the meeting and took notes.

Education Improvement Committees membership roster:

  • Richard Westerberg, State Board of Education, ex-officio member.
  • Don Soltman, State Board of Education, ex-officio member.
  • Roger Brown, Office of Gov. Butch Otter, ex-officio member.

Career ladder/tiered licensure sub committee

  • Rod Lewis, State Board of Education, Chairman.
  • Linda Clark, Superintendent, Meridian Joint Dist. No. 2, Co-Chair.
  • Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene.
  • Rep. Marc Gibbs, R-Grace.
  • Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls.
  • Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls.
  • Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise.
  • Tom Luna, Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Geoffrey Thomas, Superintendent, Madison School District.
  • Rob Winslow, Idaho Association of School Administrators.
  • Karen Echeverria, Idaho School Boards Association.
  • Wayne Freedman, Idaho School Boards Association, Council.
  • Rod Gramer, Idaho Business for Education.
  • Christina Linder, Associate Dean, Idaho State University College of Education.
  • Zach Wesley, Idaho PTA.
  • Paula Conley, teacher, Canfield Middle School, Coeur d’Alene School District.
  • Brian Smith, teacher, Sandpoint High School, Lake Pend Oreille School District.
  • Bill Brulotte, principal, Perrine Elementary School, Twin Falls School District.

Structure and governance sub committee

  • Emma Atchley, State Board of Education, Chairwoman.
  • Bob Lokken, White Cloud Analytics and Idaho Business for Education, Co-Chair.
  • Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle.
  • Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding.
  • Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello.
  • Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls.
  • George Harad, Idaho Parents and Teachers Together.
  • Anne Ritter, Idaho School Boards Association, Meridian.
  • Alan Millar, Idaho Charter School Network.
  • Cheryl Charlton, Idaho Digital Learning Academy.
  • Penni Cyr, Idaho Education Association.
  • Corinne Mantle-Bromley, Dean, University of Idaho College of Education.
  • Mary Ann Ranells, Superintendent, Lakeland School District.
  • Tom Taggart, Director of Business and Operations, Lakeland Joint School District.
  • Cindy Wilson, Teacher, Capital High School, Boise School District.