Education

Clark Gilbert
Courtesy BYU-Idaho

Deseret News CEO Clark Gilbert has been named the new president of Brigham Young University-Idaho.

The selection of Gilbert was announced Tuesday during a devotional at BYU-Idaho's campus in Rexburg, Idaho. Gilbert becomes the 16th president of the Mormon-owned school, and will take over for Kim B. Clark in April.

Data: Idaho Education News

Repeatedly — both before and after his election to a third term — Gov. Butch Otter’s praise for Idaho’s high school broadband system has focused on access.

The Idaho Education Network brings more classes into rural schools, he says, bringing the state that much closer to meeting its constitutional mandate to provide a uniform system of free public schools.

The state’s own numbers tell a very different story:

The White House / Flickr Creative Commons

President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver a 2:45 p.m. speech today at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex on the Boise State University campus after delivering his State of the Union address last night.

During his stop at Boise State University Wednesday, President Barack Obama will visit a lab that helps local entrepreneurs and industries build prototypes of their products to help get them into the marketplace.

Obama will visit the College of Engineering’s New Product Development Lab. It’s managed and run by the College of Business and Economics. 

Keyboard, computer, tech
newfilm.dk / Flickr Creative Commons

A new audit shows slightly more than half of the schools surveyed aren't using the equipment purchased through Idaho's pricey broadband contract and nearly 6 percent of the videoconferencing equipment can't be located.

Legislative auditors told budget writers Thursday that use of the Idaho Education Network, a program that provides broadband access to Idaho public schools, has declined since it first began in 2012.

State Sen. Dean Cameron says the report raises concerns for the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee as it considers funding the program for another year.

internet, computer, broadband,
Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

The state has outlined its timetable to rebid the Idaho Education Network broadband contract — and Idaho will likely have to go it alone on project funding at least until July 1, 2016.

The state Department of Administration won’t accept bids on the new contract until June, and that’s well past the deadline for the state (or school districts) to apply for federally administered “e-Rate” funds for 2015-16.

Here’s how the two timetables mesh:

Young Invincibles

A national group working to engage young people on issues like education and health care gives Idaho a D- when it comes to state support for higher education.

Predicting what lawmakers will focus on during the Idaho legislative session is a bit of a gamble. But after eight terms in office, Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, has a good idea of the Legislature's priorities -- after all, he has a big influence in shaping that agenda. Hill, who is the President Pro-Tem of the Senate, points to education and gay rights issues as topics  front and center for lawmakers this year.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra offered a brief glimpse of her agenda for the 2015 Idaho Legislature at her first press conference since being elected in November.

Ybarra told reporters Monday that she is considering increasing operational funding for schools while possibly delaying the implementation of a new plan that seeks to tighten teacher certification credentials.

twitter.com/jkaf_foundation

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has given away about $30 million a year in Idaho since the 1990s. Most of that money has gone to projects involving Idaho’s public schools. But foundation Executive Director Roger Quarles says the board and staff are frustrated with how that's worked out, and are changing the way they give.

“Since 1997 we’ve invested almost $700 million in K-12 and higher ed,” Quarles says. “And to me, it looks the same as it did 17 years ago. School basically looks the same, feels the same as it did a hundred years ago in Idaho.”

Idaho Education News

Idaho school districts are collecting more than $180 million in voter-approved supplemental levies in 2014-15.

This represents almost a 4 percent decrease from 2013-14, when districts collected more than $188 million in supplemental levies. But the dropoff can be explained by reduced levies in three of the state’s largest districts. Across the state, levy elections are more commonplace than ever.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho high school senior made waves earlier this month for a pointed editorial taking aim at Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect Sherri Ybarra.

Harmony Soto, 17, decided to plagiarize Boise Weekly writer George Prentice after Ybarra narrowly won November's election -- even after Ybarra was accused of plagiarizing her opponent's campaign website.

The College of Idaho has received a $2.45 million grant spread over five years for biomedical research.

The school in southwest Idaho in a statement Monday says that about a third of the money will be used to investigate the medical properties of sagebrush.

A similar amount will be used to research small molecule inhibitors that could be used to fight pathogenic microorganisms.

The school says the rest of the money will be used for other research projects.

The money comes from the National Institutes of Health's IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence.

Terry McCombs / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is doing a poor job of preparing educators to teach to Common Core standards, according to a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

Last week, the National Council on Teacher Quality gave Idaho a D+ grade for teacher preparedness. The average state grade was a C; only 10 states graded out lower than Idaho.

The State Board of Education has endorsed legislation that would set Idaho teacher pay based on performance standards and experience.

Board member Richard Westerberg says the state needs higher teacher salaries, and the plan would allow district to reward their best teachers.

Beginning teachers would see salaries increase from about $31,000 a year to about $40,000 a year over the next five years, and top-level teachers would see their base salaries rise from $47,000 to $58,000.

Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Sherri Ybarra says she's staying mum on all things budget, policy and staffing until she's sworn into office on Jan. 5.

The recently elected Republican is in the middle of transitioning to become Idaho's next superintendent of public instruction.

Ybarra told The Associated Press Wednesday that it would be inappropriate to discuss changes she's considering because current state Superintendent Tom Luna is still in office.

Instead, Ybarra says she is on a "silent tour," and focusing on gathering input from lawmakers and staffers.

Scott Woods-Fehr / Flickr Creative Commons

The state is asking a judge to take another look at his decision to void the $60 million Idaho Education Network broadband contract.

forest, land, trees
Dave Thomas / Flickr Creative Commons

A San Francisco-based investment advising firm told Idaho’s Land Board that its commercial property investments are not a great idea.

An Idaho school official says high school students relying on the Idaho Education Network to complete a state-required math course may not be able to graduate now that the broadband contract is void.

Earlier this week, a judge tossed out Idaho's $60 million school broadband contract. Fourth District Judge Patrick Owen ruled Tuesday that it wasn't legally struck.

internet, computer, broadband,
Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

In a ruling that could have major implications for broadband service in schools — and a multimillion-dollar price tag for  Idaho taxpayers — a District Court judge has tossed out Idaho’s $60 million school broadband contract.

The disputed Idaho Education Network contract was declared void late Monday afternoon by 4th District Court judge Patrick Owen.

Owen sharply criticized the state Department of Administration for continuing to try to salvage the 2009 contract, after carving Syringa Networks out of the deal to provide broadband to 219 high schools across the state.

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