Education

Boise State University officials say they will change their on-campus event policies after facing a possible lawsuit from private legal organizations.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho had accused the university of violating the First Amendment after it charged a student organization security fees for a gun-rights event earlier this year.

University officials had already reimbursed the students $465 but they say will now suspend the policies that allow them to charge for enhanced security.

BES Photos / Flickr Creative Commons

A state task force says reforming Idaho's teaching certification must be tied to increasing salaries in order to attract and retain quality teachers in public schools.

The 15-member committee spent most of Monday discussing details of implementing a new teacher pay system commonly known as the career ladder.

However, some members worry that state lawmakers will approve tougher certification requirements without providing funding for higher salaries.

Washington State University

Washington State University's Board of Regents unanimously approved a plan Friday to establish a medical school in Spokane. It has the potential to generate 120 new doctors every year in the Northwest, but the move also tees up a fight between Washington's two largest public universities.

The University of Washington in Seattle is currently the state's only public medical school and it serves as the main destination for med students in a five-state area including Idaho.

A new report shows Washington State University is ready for a full-fledged medical school in Spokane. It would be one of the biggest educational ventures the school has seen in decades.

Consultants from MGT of America, contracted by WSU, gave this report to the school’s board of regents: WSU is well positioned to develop an accredited medical school in the near future. The group says WSU could seek accreditation in Fall 2015, and have its charter class in 2017.

The West Ada School District in southwest Idaho has put a National Book Award winning novel back in the curriculum after removing it six months ago amid parent complaints.

Trustees on Tuesday voted unanimously to put "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie on the supplemental reading list that teachers can select from.

The novel is narrated by a 14-year-old whose transfer makes him the only Native American in an all-white school. Objections are based on discussions of sex, abuse, alcoholism, or on racist or profane statements from characters.

facebook.com/pages/Lapwai-School-District

A school superintendent in northern Idaho says the reason his district hasn't had music classes in more than a year, and will soon switch to virtual gym classes, is as much about the difficulty of attracting and retaining qualified teachers in rural areas as it is about funding.

The story of Lapwai School District's  funding problems has been picked up by just about every news outlet in the state.

School Kid, Education, Computer
Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is proposing a 6.9 percent budget increase to Idaho's public school funding for 2015. Luna says the budget calls for the largest spending increase he's ever proposed in his nearly eight-year tenure.  

Luna unveiled his budget Tuesday to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and legislative leadership. However, because Luna isn't seeking a third-term, it'll be the winner of the November election who will be tasked with selling the $94 million budget increase to lawmakers during the next legislative session.

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

High school students in a north-central Idaho town will have to take gym classes through an online program this year after a school levy failed.

Lapwai School District Superintendent David Aiken told the Lewiston Tribune the district can't afford to hire a physical education teacher, so students will have to take PE through the Idaho Digital Learning Academy, a state-sponsored online school. Students will have access to the school gym and equipment, but Aiken said the teacher would be on the other side of the computer.

Idaho Education News

The West Ada School District will run another bond issue in an attempt to ease overcrowding issues.

But first, district officials want to look at the ingredients of a bond proposal — and crunch the precinct-by-precinct numbers from Tuesday’s vote.

“The kids aren’t going away and the need isn’t going to decrease,” West Ada Superintendent Linda Clark said Wednesday.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

It has been a tense few weeks at Boise's Concordia School of Law. Faculty and students had hoped to hear earlier this month if the American Bar Association (ABA) would grant it provisional accreditation. Instead, the ABA decided it needed more time to consider and would send someone to Boise for a closer look at Concordia.

But the ABA didn’t tell school administrators why it wanted closer scrutiny or give a timeline for when things might move forward. But now Concordia dean Cathy Silak says the ABA told her Tuesday it will send a fact-finder in September. 

apple, fruit
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A $104 million bond that would have helped the West Ada School District address overcrowding failed Tuesday. It needed a two-thirds super majority to pass, but failed with 63 percent of the vote.

The Idaho Statesman reports the school's superintendent says overcrowding won't be going away, and the district will need to attempt the bond measure again.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Fifty new first year students will start classes next week at Boise’s Concordia Law School. That’s the largest incoming class since the school opened in the fall of 2012. Concordia’s third year class is almost as large but many of them won’t be taking classes this fall.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University researcher Julia Oxford has won a $10 million grant to create a Center for Biomedical Research, making it the largest grant in the university’s history. Boise State President Bob Kustra made the announcement in his annual state of the university speech Wednesday.

Boise State University

Boise State University Provost Martin Schimpf says the university’s recent program prioritization will make the school a more relevant, efficient and higher-quality institution. 

Idaho Schools Chief Tom Luna Takes Nonprofit Job

Aug 19, 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

When State Superintendent Tom Luna leaves office in 2015, he will join a nonprofit education vendor.

Luna will join Project Lead The Way, an Indianapolis-based organization providing programs and teacher training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the so-called “STEM” fields. Luna will be the nonprofit’s vice president of policy, advocacy and research.

Luna will oversee four regional directors, as well as a team of policy analysts and researchers.

Idaho Department of Commerce

Idaho’s public universities Wednesday told the State Board of Education what programs and degrees they’re ready to cut, which could lead to job layoffs. All four of Idaho’s four-year universities reported on a yearlong evaluation known as program prioritization. This was a requirement from the state board aimed at cost cutting.

Boise’s Concordia Law School will have to wait longer to find out if its first graduating class will be able to practice law in Idaho. The more than 40 students in Concordia’s class of 2015 expected to find out Monday if they’d be able to take the bar exam when they graduate. Instead, the American Bar Association (ABA) told them they’d have to keep waiting.

Empty Classroom
Karen Apricot New Orleans / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s go-on rate apparently is going downward.

That’s the startling, sobering message from the latest round of numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Just under 52 percent of Idaho’s 2013 high school graduates have enrolled in two-or four-year college, according to the current clearinghouse numbers. This represents a drop from Idaho’s lackluster 2012 numbers, when 54 percent of graduates decided to continue their education.

Oregon is waiting to hear whether its application for a continued federal waiver from the No Child Left Behind law will be approved.

Education, school, classroom
IlmicrofonoOgglono / Flickr Creative Commons

The number of Idaho kids living in poverty has risen to 21 percent, that's a 3 percent increase since 2005. That means at least 87,000 Idaho children were living in poverty in 2012. The poverty statistic is just one of the findings in the annual Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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