Education news roundup: Monday, March 3

Data security. With three weeks to go, perhaps, in the 2014 session, the process of passing a bill to protect student data security is getting more convoluted.

Gov. Butch Otter and the Legislature’s education committee chairmen have spoken of the need to pass a law ensuring data security, with Otter mentioning the subject in his State of the State address on Jan. 6. But now, it appears the Senate Education Committee could meet next week to look at two different and competing bills — including a brand-new bill that hasn’t even been formally introduced.

Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, has been working on data security legislation — and he said his Senate Bill 1372 reflects several rewrites and discussions with stakeholder groups.

Goedde’s bill was on his committee’s agenda for Monday afternoon. But Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, has written his own data security bill.

The committee voted to give Pearce the go-ahead to get his bill introduced and shipped back to Senate Education for a hearing. Goedde didn’t oppose the move, but urged Pearce to give his bill to the State Department of Education and the State Board of Education for their review.

Afterwards, Goedde told Idaho Education News that he didn’t want to appear to be pushing his own bill at the expense of Pearce’s. But he said Pearce’s bill hasn’t been well vetted — and probably wouldn’t be back to Senate Education for a hearing before next week. The delays, he said, could jeopardize passing any bill this session.

The late-session maneuvering comes as many committees are looking to wind down their work for 2014. On Monday, Senate Education posted a notice that future meetings will be held at “the call of the chair.” That means the committee’s daily meetings are done for the session — and the committee will meet only when there is specific legislation that needs to be discussed.

The committee will meet at least one more time this year, to sort out data security.

SBAC committee named. State Superintendent Tom Luna has named a 20-member team of educators who will supervise this spring’s field test of Idaho’s Common Core assessment.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium field test will occur in April and May — a year before the test is used to measure school and student performance. The test is aligned with the new Idaho Core Standards in mathematics and English language arts.

The committee includes one superintendent who has questioned the time and computer demands attached to the SBAC test. Boise schools chief Don Coberly was one of several Treasure Valley superintendents who urged Luna to replace the SBAC. Luna declined, but agreed to make the test optional for ninth- and 10th-graders.

The committee will meet for the first time on Thursday. Here’s the makeup of the committee (and some background on the SBAC debate):

Greg Bailey, superintendent, Moscow School District; Spencer Barzee, superintendent, West Side School District; Sheryl Brockett, principal, Century High School, Pocatello; William Brulotte, principal, I.B. Perrine Elementary School, Twin Falls; Kelly Caldwell, principal, Genesee School; Michele Capps, superintendent, Murtaugh School District; Coberly; John Cordell, principal, St. Maries High School; Jolene Dockstader, teacher, Jerome Middle School; Alan Dunn, superintendent, Sugar-Salem School District; Will Goodman, director of technology, Mountain Home School District; Jeanne Johnson, principal, Cloverdale Elementary School, Bonneville School District; Don Keller, head of school, Sage International Charter School; Chris Ledbetter, test coordinator, Soda Springs School District; Ramona Lee, special education director, Weiser School District; Rachel Lyon, teacher, Troy Junior/Senior High School; Mike Nelson, director, curriculum and assessment, Coeur d’Alene School District; Mary Ann Ranells, superintendent, Lakeland School District; Jackie Thomason, director, assessment and accountability, Meridian School District; Cindy Wilson, teacher, Capital High School, Boise.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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