Boise superintendent: Ditch tiered licensure plan

It’s time for the State Board of Education to “hit the reset button” on its unpopular tiered teacher licensing plan, Boise School Superintendent Don Coberly wrote this week.

The licensing plan would place teachers into one of three license tiers, and advance teachers through the structure based on student growth and local evaluations. The proposal has drawn almost universal opposition at a series of public hearings — including a crowded, contentious hearing in Meridian on Oct. 21. Coberly attended portions of the hearing, but did not testify.

Don Coberly square
Don Coberly

“In 2011, the Legislature passed the Students Come First laws in the face of overwhelming testimony against the laws,” Coberly wrote Sunday, on his Data Points blog. “If anything, the tenor of the comments at the hearings was even more unified – teachers, administrators, and parents all made similar pointed, accurate remarks.”

The Boise district has suggested an alternative to the State Board plan.

  • The district recommends replacing the “unnecessarily complex” three-tiered structure with two “residency” and “professional” certificates.
  • The district plan would boost starting salaries to $40,000 and top teacher salaries to $58,000, identical to the State Board proposal.
  • The district wants the state to increase teacher leadership premiums, “in order to adequately compensate teachers for building and district leadership roles, and to allow them to remain in the classroom rather than pursuing other career paths.” The 2014 Legislature put $15.8 million into these leadership premiums, allowing the state’s 115 districts to use the money as they see fit.

With Coberly opposing the tiered licensure plan, the superintendents of Idaho’s two largest districts are in sharp disagreement on this controversial issue. West Ada School District Superintendent Linda Clark supports the proposal; she was co-chair of a State Board working group that crafted the plan this summer.

The next move belongs to the State Board, which is expected to meet in November to consider the proposal.

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