Education

Idaho Education News

Last time around, it took lawsuits to force Idaho to rewrite its school funding formula.

Then it took a ton of new money to seal the deal. The spending increase was huge — and today, it would take more than $350 million to match it.

That was 1994.

Now, fast forward to 2016.

Herald Post / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho schools chief Sherri Ybarra is proposing a 7.5 percent hike in public school funding. The increase would go toward more money for teacher salaries and restoring funding to pre-recession levels for Idaho's 115 school districts to spend on paying insurance, utilities or other operations costs.

Ybarra presented her budget to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. She is requesting spending $1.5 billion for fiscal 2017, which is nearly $110 million more than this year's budget.

Monash University / Flickr Creative Commons

Regional medical school administrators are requesting more money to expand the number of seats for Idaho in a regional program that educates medical students.

Mary Barinaga, an assistant dean with the University of Washington, says they need an additional $278,900 to add five additional Idaho seats in WWAMI — the partnership between Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho and the University of Washington.

The request would fulfill a 2009 plan to increase the number of Idaho students to 40 per class.

Boise State University

Many Boiseans woke up Friday to news that a former president at Boise State University had passed away.

Dr. John Keiser served as president from 1978 to 1991, and is credited with beginning a major transformation at the institution. For instance, facilities like Morrison Center and Taco Bell Arena were built during his tenure. The famous blue football turf was also installed while Keiser was president.

Idaho Education News

A year ago at this time, a STEM Action Center wasn’t even so much as a proposal.

Angela Hemingway was working with the State Department of Education. She was “deep in the weeds” of assessment and accountability issues, and the idea of a STEM center wasn’t really on her mind.

In 2016, the brand-new STEM Action Center could get a big cash infusion from the Legislature. Hemingway, the center’s executive director, is fielding questions from lawmakers about how the money would be used.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

In recent years, funding for higher education has been a secondary focus for Idaho lawmakers. Following the recession, K-12 schools were lawmakers’ top education priority. But now - amid continued revenue growth and changing workforce needs - higher education is being discussed more and more. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter proposed this week the state’s four-year colleges and universities get a nearly 9 percent increase in state funding next fiscal year.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

In his State of the State speech Monday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter said education is his top legislative priority this year. The Republican’s budget proposal includes millions of dollars in new funding for K-through-12 schools. 

But based on percentage, the increases Otter is requesting for higher education are even larger.  The governor’s budget hints at some changing priorities in state government.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Boise State University has achieved an academic distinction its leaders say has been more than a decade in the making. The school announced Wednesday its classification as a “Doctoral Research” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

To achieve the designation, institutions need to award at least 20 research and scholarship doctoral degrees in a given year.

Idaho Education News

Idaho has one of the nation’s strongest teacher evaluation policies, according to a national report issued Tuesday.

Idaho requires annual teacher evaluations, a national “best practice,” says the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. The group also gave Idaho conditional praise for using student achievement as a teacher evaluation metric.

John Kelly / Boise State University

A Boise State chemistry professor has been named the 2015 Idaho Professor of the Year by two national education organizations.

Susan Shadle is among 35 state winners and the 10th Boise State professor to claim the award, which is handed out by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Discovery Center of Idaho

The Discovery Center of Idaho wants more young people to get excited about science, technology, engineering and math – better known as STEM. To do that, the center has partnered with another Boise nonprofit, Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Center. The two groups are asking people in the community to sponsor 50 low-income families with memberships to the science center.

Mecale Causey is with the Discovery Center. She says the idea fits perfectly with their overall mission.

learning elementary student teacher
Alvin Trusty / Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly 10 percent of Idaho children go to school just four days a week. That’s almost 27,000 students. Dozens of districts across the state have switched to four day weeks since the Great Recession in hopes of saving money. But as Idaho Education News reports, nobody knows how that impacts students.

Idaho Education News

 

Linda Clark has resigned abruptly — and effective immediately — as superintendent of the West Ada School District.

Boise State University

The Micron Foundation has given $25 million to Boise State University for the school's materials science program.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the sum is nearly half of the cost of the Center for Materials Research, which will house the program.

This is one in a string of gifts the Micron Foundation has made to launch Boise State's materials science program, which started in 2002 and now has 177 students.

Idaho Education News

Lawmakers received $5 million worth of good news Tuesday morning. The state’s bill for school broadband could come in well below budget.

One reason for the savings: School districts have been able to tap into federally administered dollars that had been cut off during the Idaho Education Network broadband contract dispute.

Idaho Education News

The debate over Idaho Core Standards could be headed to a federal courtroom — with a focus on the tests aligned to the new standards.

On Monday, a group of 10 plaintiffs filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, seeking to “cease implementation” of Idaho’s version of Common Core and throw out the state’s testing contract with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Idaho Education News

Child immunization rates are low in the silver mining community of Wallace, and school district superintendent Bob Ranells is well aware of it.

There is no simple, single explanation.

School nurses are expected to manually load data for every individual student — and, as Ranells puts it, nurses went into their profession to help people, not to sit in front of a computer.

Idaho Education News

As Idaho moves into the realm of mastery-based education, the state is getting unpaid help from a prominent education reform group.

But the Foundation for Excellence in Education — founded by GOP presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — is itself a newcomer to mastery. During a meeting with the State Board of Education in May, a foundation official said the group has not worked with any other states on implementing mastery programs.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Treasure Valley school districts faced with a shortage of special education teachers are turning to alternative routes of certification as they struggle to fill positions.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the shortage has hit West Ada School District, the state's largest district, and Boise School District, one of Idaho's highest-paying districts. Council, a logging town near Boise with only 240 students, has also struggled to find special education teachers.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

On top of the tallest academic building on the Boise State campus sits a large metal dome. It is an observatory that has been at the school for more than 35 years. At one point, the dome was a hive of activity, giving students and the public a chance to peer deep into our solar system. Now it sits mostly empty and unused, after years of neglect.

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