Education

StateImpact Florida NPR

Idaho is one of only five states still waiting for a waiver to the No Child Left Behind education law. California and Nevada are also waiting for permission to use their own academic accountability systems.

Education leaders from around the country are in Idaho Friday. Coeur d’Alene is the first city in Idaho to host the annual Institute. 21, a conference put on by the Partnership For 21st Century Skills.

It’s a coalition made up largely of companies that have stakes in education. It includes some big names like Apple and HP. 

It also has some non-corporate members such as philanthropic organizations and the National Education Association. Education superintendents from several states - including Idaho - are attending.

boardofed.idaho.gov

Idaho’s State Board of Education Thursday approved a plan to get more students to go on to college. It’s called Complete College Idaho and its goal is for 60 percent of Idahoans between 25 and 34 years of age to have a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2020. It includes reforms to college remediation programs and measures to decrease the amount of time it takes to earn a degree or certificate. The Board of Ed held focus groups and sent out surveys to students, teachers, businesses, and community groups to get feedback on the plan before it was approved.

The union for Meridian's teachers and a representative from the state’s largest school district meet this afternoon for one last contract negotiation. The talks have gone on for months. Under a law passed last year, districts and teachers must agree to a contract by June 10th.

That day falls on a Sunday, so teachers and administrators have until the end of the business Monday to agree. Meridian Education Association president Luke Franklin says this has been the most difficult and contentious negotiation Meridian has seen in recent memory. He says it’s been hard on his members.

heritagecommunitycharter.com

Caldwell’s Heritage Community Charter School has some serious problems. That’s the assessment of the state’s Public Charter School Commission, which oversees the publicly funded, privately run schools. Heritage has been in operation for one school year with students from kindergarten to high school.

heritagecommunitycharter.com

Caldwell’s Heritage Community Charter School has been open for a year. And Thursday its board of directors heard harsh criticism from Idaho’s Public Charter School Commission. 

Commission members say they’ve never seen so many problems at one school, including the inability of the board to understand finances. Tamara Baysinger, the commission’s director, says it’s more complicated than just the board.

sde.idaho.gov

Idaho schools superintendent Tom Luna has a new role in Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Luna has been named an education policy advisor to Romney.  Luna has been one of Romney’s biggest Idaho supporters throughout the primary process and says he’s advised the former governor informally. Romney laid out his education priorities in a speech in Washington Wednesday. Nearly everything he talked about is part of Luna’s Students Come First public education laws that passed the Idaho Legislature last year.

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

You might not guess it, if you happened to pass through, but tiny Rockland, Idaho, population three hundred eighteen, is a place of distinction.  Continue reading.

payettecounty.info

The Payette School District is considering an unusual way to boost student attendance. Middle school principal Rick Hale has proposed a quarterly reward worth about $20 for perfect attendance. Students could choose between free admission to dances or sporting events, transportation to away games for athletes, or movie passes. He says overall, school attendance is pretty good.  He just wants to get more students in class, more often.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

There are fewer people with college degrees in Idaho than in many of its neighboring states and the nation.

U.S. Census Bureau data from 2010 shows 24.4 percent of Idahoans aged 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree or higher.  The national average in 2010 was 28.2 percent.

nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard

A study called the Nation’s Report Card for science came out last week. Idaho students scored 14th nationally. At the same time education leaders from across the state met to discuss how to improve the state’s science education. Last week’s STEM Summit brought together, teachers, administrators, politicians, and business leaders from all over Idaho to talk about the future of science, technology, engineering and math education. Brenda Gardunia was one of the speakers. She’s a long time Boise teacher and is working for the National Science Foundation through an Albert Einstein Fellowship.

Honorary Degree: What Is It Good For?

May 11, 2012
Helen Graham / Flickr

At graduation ceremonies across the Northwest this spring, a handful of people will receive what are known as “honorary degrees.” Typically, they’re awarded to distinguished humanitarians, writers and entrepreneurs. But what, if anything, can you actually do with an honorary degree?

nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard

A study often called The Nation's Report Card came out Thursday. The National Center for Education Statistics gave eighth graders a new science test in 2009 and gave it again in 2011. None of the states did worse last year, 16 did better, most scored about the same. Idaho was one of those. But NCES’s Arnold Goldstein says Idaho did well on the science test overall.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Results come out Thursday from Idaho’s first mandated SAT exam. The state paid the tab for more than 16,000 high school juniors to take the college entrance exam this year. It cost tax payers more than $900,000.

Joe Lovelace is a junior at Boise High. He wants a score that will get him in to Dartmouth or Cornell. Lovelace says he’ll check the SAT website first thing. “I have to leave for school about 6:15 to get to jazz band, " he says.  So he'll probably try to check his score around 5:45.

bigfuture.collegeboard.org

Results will be released tomorrow  for the 16,ooo high school juniors who took the SAT a few weeks ago. This is the first year Idaho has paid for all juniors to take the college entrance exam. It’s part of a new set of graduation requirements that go into effect for the class of 2013.

Senate Republicans in Washington, D.C. blocked a Democratic bill to keep some student loan interest rates from doubling.  U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) was among them.

Crapo says most lawmakers want to keep subsidized Stafford loan rates at their current 3.4 percent.  Republicans and Democrats, though, disagree on how to pay for it. 

Stack of Books
Albertogp123 / Flickr

A report released today by the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy questions whether the state is meeting its constitutional duty to "maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools."

The report is authored by the center's director Mike Ferguson, who was also Idaho's chief economist for 25 years.

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