Idaho Educators Demand Change on Master Educator Premium

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Levi Cavener
Levi Cavener signed this petition

The State Board of Education recently released data regarding teachers’ applications for the Master Educator Premium (MEP).  Of an estimated pool of over eight thousand applicants, only about one in five applied. 

The Master Educator Premium was meant to spotlight and reward Idaho's very best teachers for work they are already doing, not ask for another ounce of flesh from teachers already worked to the bone.

In fact, Idaho’s Teacher of the Year, Marc Beitia--precisely the type of educator this program seeks to highlight and reward--also declined to submit an application.

There are lots of black-belt educators in Idaho who also did not complete portfolio process--not because they weren't Jedi teachers, but because the process is so onerous that Idaho educators simply did not have the time to complete the burdensome process.

We demand change in Idaho's Master Educator Premium to reduce the onerous current process so that future master teachers will not be discouraged to apply. 

We demand that the State Board of Education revise the current process under the guidance of a group made up with a majority of teachers, not bureaucrats.

We demand the Idaho Legislature support revisions to the Master Educator Premium.

We demand that Governor Little places pressure the appointed State Board of Education members to listen to Idaho's teachers, and support any changes developed.

Some major take-aways from educators' input:

  • The amount of time required to complete the portfolio process was much higher than State Board projection (80-120 hours seemed to be average).
  • General consensus that the portfolio is an indicator of one’s ability to write narratives on artifacts, and is not necessarily an indicator of educator “masterness.”
  • Educators would much rather be using those hours to benefit their students such as taking professional development, preparing curriculum for the upcoming year, attending training, etc.

Some suggested solutions:

  • Provide an alternative pathway to the premium aside from the portfolio process.  
    • For example, if a teacher’s evaluation results in a teacher receiving a “distinguished” category, perhaps that in itself qualifies for the premium.
  • Reduce the paperwork requirements.  
    • Instead of having to respond to every characteristic in each of the five categories, perhaps an educator chooses three (there are currently up 8 characteristics per category a teacher must provide artifacts and a narrative for in the portfolio).
  • Convene a committee with the bulk made up of actual educators who both submitted the portfolio and those that did not to continue a dialogue on how to better implement the MEP.

Gem State's very best teachers deserve better.  Sign your name to make it happen!


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