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State News Roundup for March 31, 2012

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Idaho – Busy day for education bills

The Idaho Legislature appears on track toward adjournment later this week [ed note: the legislature adjourned on Thursday, March 29], and no fewer than five education-related bills were considered Tuesday, March 27.

The day began with a brand-new bill, H698. It’s the 16th bill that the Legislature has considered this year in an attempt to clean up the mess of education policy that it made last year. As the Associated Press reported, “Coeur d’Alene Rep. Bob Nonini introduced the bill Tuesday, which is similar to a unanimously passed Senate measure that reverses over five years about $35 million in teacher pay slashed in last year’s ‘Students Come First’ education reforms. But Nonini’s plan also prioritizes last year’s reform programs, which include a merit pay program and new laptops, for any new funding.” Read more here. The bill, printed today, will be considered at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Room EW41.
In other action:

The House passed S1410, the Fiscal Year 2013 public school funding bill. With a general fund price tag of $1,279,818,600, it represents a 4.6 percent increase from FY2012, but the overall budget of $1,566,813,100 showed an increase of just 0.4 percent over the current year. What’s more, Idaho’s public schools will still be operating with $139 million less in the general fund than the state invested in FY2009. Read more about the bill.

Lawmakers fell short on a parliamentary maneuver to revive S1358, the anti-bullying bill that passed the Senate two weeks ago but did not get a hearing in the House Education Committee. Although 20 other lawmakers joined Rep. Brian Cronin (D-Boise) in the motion to bring the bill out of committee, 48 voted no and the bill is dead for another year.

Visit IdahoEA.org to find out about the rest of the bills that were considered this week.

Louisiana – Highlights from our descent on the capitol

The Louisiana Association of Educators recently rallied at the capitol [ed note: pictured above] to protest damaging education legislation and being shut out of the statehouse by Governor Jindal.

Click here to read more about the rallies and visit the LAEducators blog to find out more about the legislation.

Wisconsin – Assessment exams: achievement gaps closing, public schools outscore choice

From the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Mathematics achievement was up from last school year and gaps in achievement between subgroups of students continued to close across the state on annual examinations that are part of the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS).

Statewide mathematics achievement for black students showed the largest improvement. The achievement gap for black students closed by 7.5 percentage points between 2005-06 and 2011-12. During that same period, mathematics achievement gaps also closed significantly for all other racial and ethnic groups in the state. Overall reading achievement, while higher than it was in the 2005-06 school year, was down from last year. High school students had their highest reading achievement since the 2005-06 school year. Only Asian students had continued closing of the reading achievement gap among racial and ethnic groups. The gap closed by 6.6 percentage points between the 2005-06 to 2011-12 school years, an improvement of five-tenths of a point from last year. [...]

Additionally, this was the second year students in both the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) and Parental Private School Choice Program (PPSCP) for Racine took the same assessments as public school students statewide. For both private school choice programs, the percentage of students scoring at the proficient or advanced achievement levels was close to being the same or lower than their local school districts and all were significantly below statewide averages.

Get the full story, data, and collections of charts and graphs at WEAC.org.

Connecticut – Teacher of the Year tells Governor his plan is hurting teacher morale

2012 Connecticut Teacher of the Year David Bosso of Berlin told Governor Malloy during a town hall meeting last night, that his proposal affects teacher morale and is demoralizing.

Bosso said, “A focus on teachers and evaluation is hurting teacher morale, and, when teacher morale declines, teaching and learning suffer, and this needs to be avoided at all costs.”

Bosso continued saying, “I am proud to say I am an expert and feel good as a teacher when I am supported, respected, and valued. I am more than the test scores of my students.”


If you have questions for the Governor on his education plan, WTNH is hosting a special, education themed, “Ask the Governor” on Tuesday, April 3 at 5:30. You can submit questions for the Governor in advance of this event by visiting WTNH.com, calling the News 8 hotline at 202-212-9864, or via the station’s facebook or twitter account.

To find out more about the Governor’s townhall event, visit BlogCEA.org, or you can check out more information on the upcoming “Ask the Governor” here.

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