Education

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.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

As expected, the closest statewide race of Idaho's 2014 election was for superintendent of public instruction. Unofficially, Republican Sherri Ybarra won with 50.7 percent of the vote to Democrat Jana Jones' 49.3 percent. Just 5,700 votes separated the two candidates.

Republican candidates running for statewide and legislative offices stopped at a public charter school, where they were greeted by the student body, while traveling on a campaign bus tour.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the Oct. 24 visit raises questions over whether the stop violated Idaho's education ethics code. The code forbids schools from promoting political candidates or political activities.

Pictures of the event show campaign signs posted in front of Gooding's North Valley Academy Public Charter School.

student, classroom, ipad
FlickingerBrad / Flickr Creative Commons

A student-performance report from Treasure Valley schools shows stagnant growth in 11 indicators, ranging from school readiness to obtaining a post-secondary degree.

The Treasure Valley Education Partnership (TVEP) released its “Report to the Community” Wednesday, and most numbers were disappointing.

“We have a lot of work to do,” said TVEP chairman Rich Raimondi, president at Bishop Kelly High School. “We first want to be open and transparent about our baseline. I think we will see (increases) in the next couple of years.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho has filed a lawsuit against a south-central Idaho school district accusing it of sexually and religiously discriminating against a student.

The Times-News reports that Declo High School and Cassia County School District denied senior Sierra Norman the opportunity to run for student body president last spring.

School officials argue Norman took too many online dual-credit classes to qualify as a full-time student.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republican Sherri Ybarra says her at-times bumpy campaign for Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction is a result of increased public scrutiny on a political newcomer. But the school administrator from Mountain Home says she understands the focus that's on her comes with a run for public office.

jana jones, education, election 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Democrat running to be Idaho’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction says funding and low morale are the two biggest issues facing Idaho’s schools.

student, desk, classroom
BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s four-day schools have become a talking point in this fall’s elections — to the chagrin of at least two superintendents that use a four-day instruction calendar.

They say the four-day schools are getting an unfair rap for slashing instruction time, and for compromising quality.

“I understand why it’s out there in the political discussion, because it’s a quick soundbite,” Shoshone School District Superintendent Rob Waite said last week.

It has certainly been a recurring campaign theme.

Desks, Classroom
DerekBruff / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho high school students showed improvement on Advanced Placement tests, but lag well behind national benchmarks on the SAT college placement exam.

Those are two key findings from national results issued Tuesday.

The College Board, a New York-based nonprofit, released scores for the three sets of tests it administers: the AP exams, the SAT and the PSAT/NMSQT, a practice test for the SAT.

Butch Otter
State of Idaho

Gov. Butch Otter says his 2015-16 budget blueprint has money set aside to launch a career ladder program to boost teacher pay.

“It’s within our parameters,” Otter said in a Wednesday interview with Idaho Education News. “I have every confidence that we will get the first year.”

Today’s teenagers will soon inherit all of the worlds’ big problems. So why not enlist their help in solving them? That’s the idea behind the 24 Hour Think Challenge sponsored by the J.A. And Kathryn Albertson Foundation and the student leadership organization One Stone.

joanne johnson / Flickr Creative Commons

Those who follow education and politics in Idaho will probably be hearing the phrase ‘tiered licensure’ a lot in the next few months. The idea is to create different levels of teaching licenses.  Idaho Education News reporter Clark Corbin has been following the issue closely. Corbin says the plan has many teachers worried.

Coeur d’Alene's North Idaho College received a major grant Monday to train people in rural areas for hard-to-fill jobs in the health care industry.

Idaho should “explore” a more aggressive Internet sales tax, Jana Jones said Friday.

Sherri Ybarra, meanwhile, sidestepped the question, saying tax policy is wholly the job of the Legislature.

In their third head-to-head meeting of the week, the two state superintendent’s candidates didn’t break new ground — and, once again, they generally agreed on many issues.

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