COEUR D’ ALENE — More than 400 trustees converged in Coeur d’Alene this week to discuss Idaho education. They attended three days of workshops, meetings and networking events to become more informed on the issues facing schools across the state and country.
They listened to a debate between the GOP candidates running for state superintendent — incumbent Sherri Ybarra and challenger Jeff Dillon. And they will spend Friday morning deciding their legislative platform. Check IdahoEdNews.org on Friday afternoon for the results of their voting on proposed resolutions.
Idaho Education News interviewed seven trustees and asked them to describe what education issue they most wanted the next state superintendent to tackle.
Here’s what they said:
Susan Weed, Boundary County School District
“I feel negotiations on a yearly basis are extremely difficult and tough on the relationship between the trustees and the teachers association. I think the next superintendent should help do something from the state level to correct negotiations.”
Tim Winkle, Middleton School District
“Not all kids are going to attend college and we need to educate students about different trade jobs. We need to push the kids to look at all opportunities after graduation. It’s concerning how low Idaho’s go-on rate is.”
Susan Broncheau, Kamiah School District
“This should be a top priority because it’s an epidemic. This issue needs to be addressed. The bullying issue isn’t just happening at school, but on social media and cyberbullying. I want to see more action from the state level.”
Funding for classified staff
Esther Peters, Jerome School District
“We need more funding to have classified staff in the classroom for students who have an English barrier. It hinders the teacher in the classroom and their effectiveness in teaching the students.”
Joel Beck, American Falls School District
“I want to find out if testing is working. Our whole focus is to help kids learn. We only focus on testing to measure success. I don’t think that is the best way to measure kids learning. Are we really helping kids be successful with the material they’re learning by testing them?”
Four-year student-learning plans
Starr Olsen, Dietrich School District
“We focus so much on college, but we haven’t corrected the problem. The four-year learning plan has been an idea, but there has been no way to implement it. Teachers need more training on how the learning plans work and how it can affect students. Our teachers need to know which steps to follow and how to monitor the plans.”
Amy Landers, Bonneville School District
“We need a strong advocate for education who will be vocal. Someone who will stand up and be a leader with our Legislature.”