It turns out last week’s listening session on education policy issues at the Capitol was just the appetizer.
On Monday, leaders of the House and Senate education committees called for a second public forum, which is scheduled to run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 11 inside the Senate Auditorium in the basement of the Capitol.
This second listening session was designed as an alternative for anybody who was unable to attend Friday’s first public listening session, which was scheduled in the morning.
“We were pleased with the participation in the first listening hearing we held, and felt it very important to continue this dialogue,” House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, said in a news release. “We once again invite all of our citizens to participate and share with us their ideas on how our education system can be improved.”
On Friday, 50 of the approximately 200 people who attended the first “listening session” in front of the joint education committees testified. Although everyone who signed up was given the opportunity to speak, some people weren’t able to attend the early-morning meeting.
Idaho Education Association President Penni Cyr said her organization’s leaders asked members of the teacher’s union to skip Friday’s hearing so they could teach students in the classrooms. Cyr specifically asked lawmakers to schedule an evening hearing at a later date so educators would not have to miss school in order to share their thoughts with lawmakers.
Anne Ritter, a member of the Meridian Joint School District No. 2 board of trustees and president of the Idaho School Boards Association, said the ISBA also discouraged trustees from skipping work Friday and traveling to testify.
The Feb. 11 hearing date coincides with the ISBA’s Day on the Hill activities, which are designed to give the association’s 550 members a chance to meet with lawmakers and officials to discuss education policy issues.