State of the States
Gov. Kempthorne Backs Performance-Based Pay
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho promised to focus attention on students who failed to pass a new high school graduation test, and announced support for a controversial pay-for-performance program for teachers, in his State of the State Address last week.
“So much is going right in education, and we must celebrate our successes while we keep our focus on improvement,” Mr. Kempthorne said. The Republican, who was first elected governor in 1998 after serving a term in the U.S. Senate, told lawmakers that he would not seek a third term next year.
Mr. Kempthorne announced a proposal to spend $999 million for public schools in fiscal 2006—an increase of 3.6 percent over the current year and the smallest increase of all the major budget categories.
During his Jan. 10 speech, the governor also backed a proposed pay-for-performance program that would compensate teachers based on how well they teach. The program is opposed by several Idaho teachers’ groups, but Mr. Kempthorne said there were school districts interested in piloting the project. A committee appointed by the state board of education is studying the proposal.
Starting with the class of 2006, all students must pass the Idaho Standards Achievement Test to graduate. The test covers reading, language use, and mathematics. The governor said that 80 percent of the students who took the test have already passed it.
“Now we can focus our attention on those 20 percent of the students who need more help in certain areas,” he said.
Vol. 24, Issue 19, Page 18