Committee headcount: students 30, senators 4

Robert Stuart
Joined by their principal, Kasey Teske, students from Twin Falls’ Robert Stuart Middle School address Senate Education Committee members.

Thursday was PTA Day at the Idaho Legislature — and in the afternoon, students from Twin Falls’ Robert Stuart Middle School had the senators badly outnumbered.

About 30 student council members made the trip to attend a Senate Education Committee meeting, but only four of the committee’s nine members were there. A couple of the missing senators were attending a lengthy Senate Transportation Committee hearing on truck weights; the others, Committee Chairman John Goedde said apologetically, were unaccounted for.

The four senators didn’t constitute a quorum, but they still listened to Robert Stuart student leaders Brooke Brown, Brinlee Hollstrom and Chyna Moudy talk about everything from Common Core (a good idea, one said, because teachers are getting coached for the new standards) to class sizes (a concern, especially in sixth and seventh grades).

And they heard from Robert Stuart Principal Kasey Teske, who said he’s excited about Common Core — and willing to continue to try to do more with less. “But I’m getting a little leery about how much more we can do that.”

The PTA legislative day brought parents, principals, teachers and more than 100 Idaho students to the Statehouse for a first-floor rotunda lunch with lawmakers and sessions with Gov. Butch Otter and state schools superintendent Tom Luna. They also heard an update about Otter’s education reform task force (the Idaho PTA’s Laurie Boeckel is one of the task force’s 31 members).