Kevin Richert

Idaho Education News Reporter

Kevin Richert is an education reporter with Idaho Education News, a nonprofit news source focused on education policy in Idaho.

Each fall, more than 2,500 Idaho freshmen begin their college careers by taking remedial classes.

Idaho Ed News

Reading scores improved in the first year of Idaho’s $11.25 million “literacy initiative,” but most scores fell short of the goals set by local educators.

More than two-thirds of spring 2017 test scores failed to meet the benchmark goals school leaders set in the fall of 2016, according to an Idaho Education News analysis of test scores and local reading plans.

Mark Ramsay / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s 2016 college “go-on” numbers are up slightly, compared to a similar snapshot from 2015.

But even if the numbers are improving — and that’s still open to interpretation — they also show that Idaho has a long way to go to meet its ambitious college graduation goals.

Idaho Ed News

Idaho’s higher education task force could set a number of ambitious goals — including a marked improvement in SAT scores.

One of the task force’s work groups wants to see 60 percent of Idaho’s high school juniors meet the SAT’s college- and career-readiness benchmarks by 2022-23.

That’s a big lift. In April, only 32 percent of Idaho high school juniors met the SAT benchmarks.

SAT Logo

Idaho high school juniors are more likely to miss the two “college-readiness” benchmarks on the SAT than hit both benchmarks.

Only 32 percent of juniors met the SAT benchmarks, down from 33 percent a year ago.

Idaho released the April SAT scores last week, and the news isn’t encouraging. Idaho’s free “SAT Day” allows high school juniors a chance to see if they’re ready for college. SAT Day also takes a snapshot of Idaho high schoolers — 13 months before graduation day.

Idaho Ed News

Based on the experience in other states, it could take three to five years for Idaho to rewrite its school funding formula.

And based on Tuesday’s hearing, a panel of Idaho lawmakers doesn’t seem to be much interested in a rush job.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho college tuition and fees have increased more than fivefold since 1980, when cost figures are adjusted for inflation.

That’s the conclusion from a new report issued by the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, a nonpartisan budget think tank.

Idaho Ed News

Districts and charter schools made up less than a quarter of the school days lost to the severe winter of 2016-17, according to Idaho Education News research.

Administrators also used longer school days to make up for lost learning hours — and comply with state classroom time requirements.

Andrew Reed / Idaho Ed News

Jeff Dillon says he is running for state schools superintendent to help create a “climate of possibility.”

But first, the Wilder School District superintendent says he needs to raise money and elevate his statewide profile as he challenges a sitting incumbent. And that’s why he submitted his paperwork Friday to launch his campaign.

Idaho Ed News

In 2015-16, legislators earmarked $16.1 million to reward teachers who take on leadership roles.

Lawmakers want these ongoing “leadership premiums” to go to select teachers who take on added responsibilities. Yet 19 districts gave a share of the money to at least 90 percent of their teaching staff.

Lawmakers also wanted eligible teachers to receive a significant bonus — writing an $850 minimum into state statute. Eighteen districts and charter schools awarded smaller premiums anyway. The smallest was $75.

Idaho Ed News

For 140 students in Cassia County, the school day doesn’t end with the afternoon bell. And the school year continues past spring.

Idaho Ed News

For school districts across Idaho, a $709 million election day looms.

At least 45 of Idaho’s 115 school districts will seek bond issues, plant facilities levies or supplemental levies on March 14, according to Idaho Education News research. The bottom line: At least $709.2 million in ballot measures are on ballot.

Under Idaho law, school districts can run ballot measures on four election days: in March, May, August and November.

Why the logjam on March 14? Timing is certainly a factor.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

On Feb. 9, House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding convinced the House Local Government Committee to introduce a proposal to reduce Idaho’s two-thirds supermajority.

And that’s as far as it’s likely to go. Erpelding has been told his proposal will not get a hearing. By his count, there have been 11 attempts to reduce the supermajority since 1990, and none have made it through the Legislature.

“I guess I can get in line,” Erpelding, D-Boise, said Friday.

Idaho Ed News

Sen. Dean Mortimer has a $20.3 million plan to help schools cover health insurance costs.

Education groups are split on the idea. Depending on who you listen to, Mortimer’s plan could help schools attract and keep teachers. Or, it could exacerbate Idaho’s teacher shortage.

At some point, the Senate Education Committee will vote on the idea.

Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, uses some complicated math to construct his Senate Bill 1096.

Idaho Ed News

House Speaker Scott Bedke has joined 140 GOP officials in endorsing Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s controversial choice for education secretary.

Bedke co-signed a letter calling DeVos “an advocate and ally for all children.” The letter was signed by state school superintendents, lieutenant governors and legislators from all 50 states. Bedke was the lone Idahoan to sign on — and said he did so at the urging of the Republican National Committee.

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