IEA releases its recommendations for education

The Idaho Education Association’s board of directors approved six outcomes for students and nine recommendations to achieve those outcomes based on a report developed by a 12-member task force. The 19-page report was released today.

The report recommends many changes, including raising the bar on entry into the teaching profession, measuring parent satisfaction through surveys and asking the state to fund full-day kindergarten and a voluntary, high-quality preschool program.

“We don’t think there is anything surprising in this report or world shattering,” said IEA president Penni Cyr, who chaired the task force.  “Most importantly is that it is researched based and these are things the IEA has talked about for years.”

The document identifies the following outcomes for students by no later than 2025:

  • All students will be taught in a safe learning environment.
  • Idaho will be one of the five top-performing states on national standardized assessments, such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
  • Idaho students will be among the top 15 performers compared to other nations/jurisdictions on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam.
  • All Idaho students will be reading by the end of third grade, or be receiving intensive help.
  • 95 percent of all students will graduate from high school.
  • 80 percent of students will demonstrate college and career readiness on a college entrance assessment. 60 percent of Idaho high school graduates will successfully complete a post-secondary degree or certificate.

Co-chairing the task force was Cyr and Jan Studer, a 30-year teacher from North Idaho’s Bonners Ferry. Cyr has 28 years of teaching experience in Moscow. Ten other teachers from all areas of the state completed the task force, which took months to develop this report.

To insure those student outcomes, the report has nine recommendations. Each recommendation has a series of tasks from developing on-line courses to requiring every teacher candidate to pass both a content knowledge assessment and a rigorous classroom-based performance assessment.

“We strongly believe that to improve student achievement, we must stop focusing on outcomes only and pay more attention to the inputs. The recommendations in this policy paper do that,” the report says.

The report recommends systemic changes that require a lot of time and money.

“In our conversations with some policymakers, they have talked about the recommendations needing to be affordable.  But we didn’t do this work to only find what would not cost more money; we wanted to offer the best ideas for our schools,” Cyr said. “Every teacher I have ever talked to wants to be sure that people working with our children are well-prepared and can do the job.”

Here are the recommendations:

  • Increase Student Learning
  • Ensure College and Career-Readiness
  • Provide Technology and Online Learning Options
  • Build Community Partnerships
  • Improve Teacher Preparation
  • Transform Teacher Certification
  • Strengthen Teacher Recruitment & Retention
  • Build Educator Leadership
  • Improve Teacher Salary Structures

“We are very hopeful that lawmakers, parents, and taxpayers will view this report and realize that the people who work with their children in our public schools are dedicated, thoughtful, caring professionals who believe in the power of education and are committed to their work and the children of Idaho,” Cyr said.

Click here to read the complete report.

Jennifer Swindell

Jennifer Swindell

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement every year, reaching over one million pageviews in 2019. Jennifer has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

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