Tiered Licensure Plan for Teachers Up for Discussion


Boise Weekly
readers learned about a concept called tiered licensure back in August, when a group of educators opened up about education issues on their minds. BW sat down with the president of the Idaho Education Association, Penny Cyr, and she said the concern at the top of the list for teachers is tiered licensure.

"They're demonizing teachers again, by tying a teacher's license to a local evaluation," Cyr told BW back then. "The consequence could be a black mark and it's a whip, not a tool."

Tiered licensure creates three different levels of teaching licenses, according to a report by Boise State Public Radio. Each level correlates with a salary, starting at $40,000—increasing Idaho's current minimum salary of $31,750. The system would require teachers to renew their license every few years or move to a higher tier. To do that, renewal is based on factors such as student test scores and performance evaluations.

Teachers are concerned with the locality of the tier system, though. One example BW found was in 2013, when a Dietrich teacher was confronted by four parents after he explained the biology of an orgasm and used the word "vagina" during a lesson on the human reproductive system in a 10th-grade biology class. A formal complaint was filed to the state commission, but it was cleared after the commission saw the teacher went straight from the textbook and every student had the option to opt out of the class.

But Cyr said in a tiered licensure world, that could drastically challenge a teacher's license and livelihood.

"It could turn into a conflict of personalities," she said.

Some teachers are for the plan, according to Boise State Public Radio. They're confident in meeting higher standards and think the license renewal process will weed out poor teachers.

The tiered licensure plan will be discussed in three upcoming public meetings: Oct. 7 in Pocatello, Oct. 14 in Lewiston, and Oct. 21 in Nampa. The State Board of Education is expected to vote on a final tiered licensure plan proposal in November and take it to the state Legislature this January.