In the wake of ethics inquiries across the nation, some Idaho educators are also finding themselves not above consequences of professional infractions. Within this last year, three Idaho administrators have been suspended or reprimanded by the Idaho Professional Standards Commission (PSC) for falsifying reports submitted to the State Department of Education (SDE). Two of these violations involved misleading reviews of teacher performance and one concerned specious credentials of employees.
The PSC suspended the administrative certificate of Don Keller, the administrator of Sage International School, a charter school in Boise, for claiming his teachers had the required certificates needed to teach specific courses when indeed they did not. Granted Idaho does have a teacher retention and recruitment problem, but there are avenues toward certification these “teachers” could have been directed to take advantage of.
In addition, Idaho’s PSC sent letters of reprimand to two public school superintendents who both erroneously reported teacher evaluation scores. Alan Dunn of Sugar Salem School District said he submitted proficient ratings in 2015-16 for all his teachers in an effort to protect their privacy. Ryan Kerby, who is currently serving in the state legislature, was also found to submit false ratings in 2015-16 when he was superintendent of New Plymouth School District. He now claims the PSC investigation is a “witch hunt” to adversely affect his reelection in 2018.
Since teacher evaluation is tied to the state career ladder, supervisors are under pressure to submit accurate ratings of “distinguished,” “proficient,” “basic,” or “unsatisfactory” under the Charlotte Danielson Framework, and superintendents are to honestly report out the number of “proficients” within their districts to the SDE to justify teacher salaries on the career ladder. These offending administrators are examples of many who were not compliant in reporting accurate records in 2015-16 as part of the state review process. In an effort to assist districts in achieving compliance, the Idaho State Board of Education launched a series of regional trainings for administrators this fall to correct any misunderstandings or misgivings about the reporting protocol and review process superintendents may have.
The Code of Ethics for Idaho Professional Educators is the pillar on which every teacher and administrator must stand in his or her practice. Held to the highest standards, educators acknowledge their responsibility to uphold these commitments and principles each year as they sign individual contracts with the state.