Education

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Idaho students scored higher taking new standardized tests compared to the national benchmarks used to measure English language arts and math proficiency.

The Idaho State Department of Education released the preliminary scores on Wednesday.

Scores were supposed to be released June 5, but a delay with the vendor pushed the release date several weeks.

This is the first year the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium examination's scores have been released. Last year, the state rolled out a practice version to work out the kinks of the new system.

Idaho Education News

When it comes to paying and keeping teachers, there are wide gaps between Idaho’s haves and have-nots.

Idaho’s new five-year plan to boost teacher pay will not solve this problem. In fact, it could even get worse.

The $125 million career ladder law is designed to narrow the teacher pay gap between Idaho and neighboring states. Within Idaho, teacher salaries are set locally, and results vary widely from district to district. (To see how your local district stacks up, use the searchable table at the bottom of this story.)

All four of Idaho's four-year public universities and colleges have eliminated degree programs, dissolved academic departments or reduced staff over the past year as part of a statewide effort to cut costs and prioritize college programs.

Boise State University restructured several of its academic departments, resulting in the removal of its College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Meanwhile, the University of Idaho discontinued 19 degree options. This included bachelor degrees in American Studies, Art Education and Medical Technology.

Chris Butler / Idaho Statesman

Students at Concordia Law School in Boise could soon find out whether they'll be able to graduate and take the state bar exam. The American Bar Association (ABA) is meeting in Minneapolis today and tomorrow – and Concordia's provisional approval is on the agenda.

Brittany Randolph / Flickr Creative Commons

Wednesday is the first day of summer vacation for students in the Boise School District. Other districts have already ended the year, others will very soon. That means free summer nutrition programs for low-income kids are about to start up.

Nationally, nearly 4 million kids participate in USDA-sponsored summer meal programs. Preliminary numbers show nearly 27,000 of those kids were in Idaho last summer.

Garden Valley Installs Firearms In School

May 28, 2015

The isolated Garden Valley School District has installed firearms in its only school building and trained staff to use them in response to an active shooter.

Citing safety reasons, Superintendent Marc Gee won’t say how many guns and safes were installed or where they are located. This summer, the district will post signs warning that the school building is armed and educators are prepared to defend against violent intruders.

Galo Naranjo / Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho Latino and immigrant advocacy group has filed a civil rights complaint against all of Idaho’s public charter schools. The Boise based Centro de Comunidad y Justicia (Center for Community and Justice) is asking the Seattle branch of the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate all 48 Idaho charters as well as state agencies that oversee them.

Teresa Luna, a key figure in the Idaho Education Network broadband contract mess, has a new job as a state emergency planner.

Luna began the job with the state Bureau of Homeland Security Monday.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Former Idaho Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna has taken a new position as an emergency planner with the state's Bureau of Homeland Security.

The agency announced the hire Tuesday.

Agency Director Brad Richy says Luna has the needed expertise of state agency coordination and understanding of state, county and local government in Idaho.

election day, voting
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Several school districts around Idaho are asking voters to approve levies and bonds Tuesday. That includes Horseshoe Bend, Notus, Parma and Marsing. Turning to local voters for money has become a fixture in Idaho in recent years as schools have sought to fill budget holes left by state cuts.

NNU Facebook page

This week's resignation of Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) President David Alexander has largely been blamed on backlash for firing a particular professor. When tenured theology professor Thomas Oord was fired, administrators said it was part of a budgetary shift at the private, religious university in Nampa. Another faculty member and four staff members were also laid off.

srophotos / Flickr Creative Commons

The ACLU of Idaho is warning school districts against graduation dress codes. The ACLU says many Idaho high schools have rules requiring girls to wear dresses or skirts and boys to wear pants to graduation ceremonies. The organization says when schools mandate gender specific clothes, they violate federal laws as well as students’ constitutional rights.

ACLU of Idaho acting director Leo Morales says a letter his organization has sent to all Idaho districts is meant to help schools avoid last minute problems as they prepare for end of year activities.

Mark Ramsay / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s college graduation season and some of Idaho’s four-year state schools will soon hand out a record number of degrees.

Among Idaho’s four-year public colleges and universities, 7,209 students will graduate over the next two weeks. 

Idaho State University has the most grads this spring with 2,561 statewide. That’s up more than 100 from last year and a record for the school. Commencement is Saturday in Pocatello with a ceremony for the 253 grads of the Meridian campus Monday.

Corie Howell / Flickr Creative Commons

Boise State University’s Andrus Center for Public  Policy and the University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy have teamed up to host a conference on early childhood education in Idaho. It’s Monday at Garden City’s Riverside Hotel.  

The College of Western Idaho has purchased a 10-acre lot of land at $8.8 million, twice the value assigned to it for tax purposes, but officials say they did not overpay.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the community college's board chairwoman Mary Niland said Thursday that she if she could go back she would have looked at the tax assessment and asked for an appraisal.

Board vice president Guy Hurlbutt described the lot's location as "superb" and did not think an assessment would have made much difference.

Idaho Education News

Idaho’s ill-fated $61.5 million Schoolnet experiment is all but over.

Now, school districts can choose a substitute: an instructional management system designed to help teachers tailor their lesson plans around students’ strengths and weaknesses.

It’s a big decision for district officials — albeit one subsidized by state dollars. And for education vendors, it’s a market opportunity.

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Later this week, the Boise State football team will play its annual spring scrimmage. The Broncos are three months removed from their third win in the Fiesta Bowl. Immediately after that game, university President Bob Kustra told a KTVB-TV reporter the victory would have a positive impact on the school.

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A plan to help school districts crack down on bullying in Idaho's public schools is on its way to the governor's desk.

The Idaho Senate passed the bill 24-10 on Monday.

The bill would require local school district leaders to go through anti-bullying training and create a way for bullying to be reported.

Democratic Sen. Jane Ward-Engelking from Boise, who sponsored the bill, says that bullying can lead to depression and anxiety among students, as well as problems keeping up with classwork.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

State education officials have delayed finalizing Idaho's No Child Left Behind waiver with the federal government until the end of April in order to pursue a more flexible agreement for local districts.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra announced the change to the House Education Committee on Monday.

She had just finished attending meetings with other state education heads in Washington, D.C.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State this weekend hosts the national championship tournament for one particular style of debate. It's the first time the International Public Debate Association has held the competition west of the Mississippi. 

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