Future teachers worry about finding jobs in Idaho

Credit: Troy Colson/KTVB

College of Idaho senior Alex Copple had planned to become a teacher, but is reconsidering his future.

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 18, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 3:02 AM

BOISE -- Gov. Butch Otter signed two education reform bills into law this week that will phase out teacher tenure, restrict collective bargaining and introduce merit pay.

Opponents of the legislation have said those parts of the education reform plan will keep good teachers out of the state.

But what do Idaho college students about ready to start their teaching careers think?

No matter where you stand in regards to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's plan, you can't deny the big changes it will bring to classrooms in Idaho and the teaching profession in the state.

Our state's future teachers are well aware of that.

Dr. Dennis Cartwright is the Director of Teacher Education at the College of Idaho. He is concerned with how the education reform plan will affect future teachers in Idaho.

"The greatest concern initially is, are there going to be any jobs out there?" said Dr. Cartwright. "I'm really afraid we're going to lose a generation of teachers."

We talked to three seniors at the College of Idaho who are excited to begin their teaching careers.

"I just think it's a great deal that we get to make a difference in peoples' lives every day," said Evan Curry.

All three students want to stay in Idaho, but are unclear how Luna's reforms will impact their ability to find work as a teacher.

Kayce Ramirez says she may have to look outside her home state for a job.

"The loss of jobs to teachers will impact those of us who are close to graduating," said Ramirez. "I think it's something that should be important and is important to most people in Idaho."

But with some states around the nation pursuing similar reforms, Alex Copple is reconsidering his career choice.

"I'm kind of reconsidering things in the education field," said Copple. "I'm in a position where I need to take some time off and I'm wondering if I should pursue my major which is psychology. I don't want to have to deal with the hassle."

But Curry isn't too worried about some of the changes to teaching in Idaho, especially when it comes to merit pay and loss of tenure.

"If we perform as teachers, our jobs are going to be safe," said Curry. "If we go out and are teaching to the best of our abilities and we're getting the best out of our students, then everything is going to work out. They're not going to get rid of us if we're great teachers. So great teachers just need to take a deep breath. There's a ton of them out there. They're going to be fine."

Cartwright said most of his students do stay in the Gem State to start their careers. But one student told him that a couple of Idaho school districts aren't doing much hiring right now.

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