Education

Melinda Shelton / Flickr

A new study says the switch to a four-day school week isn’t saving Idaho school districts the kind of money they had expected. The Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho even found that some districts say their costs went up after the change.

More questions than answers hang around Idaho lawmakers grappling over the now defunct statewide school broadband access program.

A legislative interim committee met Tuesday to begin determining whether the Idaho Legislature should attempt a new statewide broadband program.

Idaho's broadband program dissolved earlier this year after a district judge ruled the $60 million contract that created the system was illegal. This left individual school districts scrambling to secure their own broadband access contracts for the upcoming school year.

Kari Greer / Boise National Forest

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says closing public access to some state forest lands amid wildfire concerns by private timberland owners is an option that has to be considered due to extreme fire danger this year.

Consultant Jim Riley on Tuesday told Otter and other members of the Idaho Land Board that a million acres of private land has been closed this year to the public due to potential wildfire.

Riley says the private owners are concerned about human-caused fires starting on state land and spreading to neighboring timber stands.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

A former College of Southern Idaho vice president, who claims she was discriminated against based on her gender and national origin, is suing the college.

The Times-News reports that Edit Szanto filed the suit in U.S. District Court last week against the school's board of trustees, President Jeff Fox and former interim president Curtis Eaton.

Szanto worked at the college for 17 years and was put on involuntary paid leave in January 2014. Szanto claims she was the victim of discrimination because she is a woman and an immigrant.

Derek Bruff / Flickr

A study by a rural education group has found that the four-day school week some Idaho schools have adopted has not been saving money as they were intended.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho, an initiative of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, found that some districts saw their costs rise after the switch to a shorter week. There was little data on the educational impact of the schedule.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A visiting Boise State professor has spent this week trying to get Idaho children to connect with refugee children.

The “Quilting to Speak” workshop is the brainchild of Reshmi Mukherjee. She’s a visiting professor at Boise State, and is teaching a course this summer about communication between refugees and non-refugees.

fs.usda.gov

When local wildfire agencies are concerned that fire danger in their area is getting extreme, they can ask for a visit from a national team of experts. One of those teams has been in Boise this week. National Wildfire Prevention and Education Teams conduct short, intense messaging campaigns. The National Interagency Fire Center describes the program this way.

biologycorner / Flickr

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.

UnShuttered Soul~ Good to be busy! / Flickr

Starting July 1, Idahoans will see new laws that range from how much they pay at the gas station to giving teachers a pay bump.

Next week marks the start of a new fiscal year in Idaho. This means a $95 million transportation plan designed to help repair Idaho's crumbling bridges and roads will go into effect. For Idaho residents, vehicle registration fees are going up $21 and gas will cost 7 cents more because of higher taxes.

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.)

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.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has selected former state Sen. Bob Geddes as the new director of the Department of Administration.

Otter announced the appointment on Wednesday.

Geddes is currently a registered lobbyist for Monsanto and the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. Prior to that, he served one year as chairman of the Idaho State Tax Commission and nine terms as a state Republican senator from eastern Idaho.

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.

This interview was broadcast first in January of 2013.

A child who heads off to kindergarten without knowing his colors or shapes may be considered academically unprepared for school.  But what if those measures mattered less, and the child's character mattered more?

School districts across the state are grappling with changes stemming from a new state law raising the salary for teachers and the major districts west of Boise are no exception.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that Nampa Superintendent David Peterson says the starting wage increase of 4.5 percent will have a large effect on his district. A financial crisis in 2012 caused many veteran teachers to leave and brought an influx of first-time educators to the city.

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.  

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.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Legislation that would increase Idaho's public school funding and boost salary increases for teachers has only one remaining hurdle.

The Idaho House approved all seven pieces of the state's largest budget with almost no discussion on Monday, sending the bills to the governor's desk.

None of the bills — a combined $1.4 billion in general funds — garnered more than seven votes in opposition.

Under the proposals, public schools funding will increase by 7.4 percent to help fund the first year of the new teacher pay increase.

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