Education

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

An informational hearing at the state capitol Wednesday centered on early childhood education.

The Senate Education Committee was scheduled to only hear about kindergarten and other early education resources for 20 minutes. However, questions from senators pushed the meeting to close to an hour.

vote, election
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Despite a concerted advertising campaign by the College of Western Idaho to pass a $180 million bond, the measure failed on the November ballot. 

Now, CWI is examining the loss. The bond would have been used to construct a new CWI campus in Boise and expand the college’s footprint in Nampa.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Hundreds of students from around Boise were absent from class Thursday morning as they gathered on the steps of the Statehouse to voice their concern over Betsy DeVos, President Trump's secretary of education.

The rally was organized by Nora Harren and Colette Raptosh, the pair of high school students who spearheaded the Women's March Idaho, which drew thousands to the state capitol in the cold and snow the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Entrance Steps Bell
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

As the Idaho Legislature wraps up its second week, lawmakers have introduced around 30 bills so far.

Boise State University Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief says that’s a little below normal, but we’ll see a lot more bills next week.

Right now, lawmakers are looking at a change to the Primary Election system in Idaho. They also want to make sure liquor licenses get used for selling booze instead of as investments. And Democrats had a suggestion for getting more teachers into rural schools.

capitol, statehouse, idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor Butch Otter said Monday during his State of the State address that education is his top priority for his fiscal year 2018 budget request.

His speech focused on education, tax relief and Idaho’s economy.

“Our finances are secure. Revenue is exceeding expectations. Economic growth is outpacing the overall growth of government and our own operations are more transparent and efficient than ever,” says Otter.

He is also proposing some tax relief.

AP Photo / Otto Kitsinger

Idaho Governor Butch Otter told lawmakers Monday that education is his top priority for the next budget year.

During his 11th State of the State address, he proposed more money for K-12 teacher salaries and the higher education building fund. And he wants tax cuts for businesses.

But there were a few things that he didn’t have a solution for, including a transportation maintenance shortfall, and the 78,000 Idahoans who don’t have health insurance because they make too much money to get on Medicaid.

AP

Update, 1:08 p.m.:

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's top priority for Idaho lawmakers is to focus on education in 2017.

Otter announced his short wish list during his annual State of the State address Monday afternoon.

The Republican governor proposed a 4.6 percent increase — roughly a $189 million funding bump — to the state's overall budget. More than 60 percent of that would go toward education, including more funding for teacher salaries and higher education facilities.

AP Photo

Speaking at an Associated Press legislative preview Friday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter hinted at some of his priorities for the 2017 session.

Otter traditionally unveils his budget and policy plans in his State of the State speech, which he gives on the first day of the session, which is Monday. But he did give a sneak peek Friday morning when he said his main focus will be education.

He’ll ask lawmakers for $58 million for the teacher pay raise program known as the Career Ladder. The five-year plan is in its third year and Otter says the goals are straightforward.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

When they convene next week, lawmakers in the Idaho Legislature plan to take a closer look at teacher evaluations.

For years, Idaho has required an annual evaluation to use as a tool for educators to improve their performance. In 2015, lawmakers decided to tie those evaluations to teacher raises. Called the Career Ladder, this initiative spends $250 million over five years to boost teacher pay. But to climb that ladder - teachers must meet certain performance benchmarks in order to earn a raise.

Idaho Department of Education

This adorable penguin was drawn by Sawtooth Elementary fifth-grader Kylee Thiel. It was submitted from Twin Falls along with other pictures from around the state in the Idaho State Department of Education's Holiday Card Contest.

Idaho Schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra said Thiel's artwork was the winner. It will be featured on the Department's holiday greeting card. Thiel will also get a certificate and copies of the card to share with family and friends.

Metro Community Services

A group of 10 high school students are learning building techniques as they put together a tiny house in Wilder. As Samantha Wright reports, a partnership designed to teach kids new skills is behind the project.

Middleton School District

Between 2006 and 2015, Middleton Heights Elementary placed girls and boys in separate classrooms, based on an education theory that the sexes learn differently.

But according to the American Civil Liberties Union, this was a violation of Title IX, and the Department of Education recently agreed.

“Well the issue is definitely not new," says Leo Morales from the ACLU of Idaho, "and it’s an issue that the ACLU across the country has been looking at for years.”

AP Photo

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says that he has no plans to introduce a tax cut proposal to the Idaho Legislature in 2017.

Speaking Wednesday at the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho annual conference in Boise, Otter said he plans to focus on education as his top priority during the upcoming legislative session. However, Otter added he's open to considering tax cut proposals that make it through the GOP-dominated Legislature.

A 180-million-dollar bond to fund a two-pronged expansion for the College of Western Idaho failed to get the necessary supermajority it needed to pass at the polls Tuesday. The 25-year bond would have gone toward growing CWI’s main campus in Nampa as well as establishing a presence in Boise.

In order to pass, the measure – which would have raised taxes – needed a 67 percent approval rating. Instead, it got 57 percent. The defeat means the college’s trustees now have to consider their next step for the growing institution. 

Jon Rawlinson / Flickr Creative Commons

A national education policy advocacy organization is holding its 3rd annual conference in Boise this week. The agenda is mostly what you’d expect, a lot of speeches, which started Wednesday night and run through Friday. But the conference also features a reality TV twist.

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