Anyone expecting to see the full contingent of the 31-person Idaho Task Force for Improving Education—currently on a statewide listening tour—would be disappointed. To date, only a handful of committee members have been appearing at public hearings. In fact, only three members of the task force appeared at the latest hearing, in Lewiston, Monday night. But that didn't keep the public from giving its two cents worth on the sorry state of education funding in Idaho.
This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that the three task force members got "an earful" at last night's meeting.
"Idaho needs to put more money into salaries and recruit and retain teachers," said Lewiston second-grade teacher Alex Church. According to the Tribune, Church added that principals could make up to $13,000 more per year in Washington, minutes away from downtown Lewiston.
Another teacher, this time a Lewiston kindergarten educator, told the task force that paying Idaho teachers for performance was a "divisive technique."
And a retired educator from Lewiston, Ken Krahn, said that with Idaho ranked near the bottom of funding for public education, "we're hiring teachers to be baby sitters, not educators."
The task force takes its hearings on the road again tonight. It'll be in Coeur d'Alene this evening; Idaho Falls on Monday, April 22; Pocatello on Tuesday, April 23; and at the Idaho Statehouse auditorium in Boise on Thursday, April 25.