Trustee’s tiered licensure comments draw scrutiny

Carol Sayles was one of dozens of people who testified at a public hearing last month, criticizing a proposed tiered teacher licensing plan.

But Sayles’ testimony raised a few eyebrows within West Ada School District headquarters, because Sayles is an elected school board member.

Carol Sayles
Carol Sayles

The board has not taken a formal position on tiered licensure, district spokesman Eric Exline said. Sayles testified at a heated Oct. 21 hearing on the plan, held at Meridian’s Mountain View High School, and identified herself as a school board trustee.

A week later, the West Ada trustees took up the question of whether, or how, Sayles should have testified. They discussed whether Sayles should have identified herself as a board member, or whether she should have said she was simply speaking on her own behalf.

The topic, as identified on the Oct. 28 meeting agenda, was “discussion of board conduct.”

At the end of the discussion, the board took no vote and did not censure Sayles, Exline said.

Sayles did not respond Monday to an email seeking comment.

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While the West Ada School Board has taken no formal position on the tiered licensure plan, Superintendent Linda Clark is among its most visible supporters. Clark co-chairs a State Board of Education working group that drew up the plan. “This is leading edge reform,” Clark told Idaho Education News in August.

The tiered licensure plan would set up three types of teacher certificates — and is tied to a career ladder plan to boost teacher pay for newcomers and veteran teachers. Critics, including the Idaho Education Association, object to tying teacher licensure to evaluations written at the local level.

The State Board is expected to take up the proposal in November, and decide whether to take a proposal to the 2015 Legislature.

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