6:30 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Idaho School Districts Increasingly Rely On Levies To Pay The Bills

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

School districts across Idaho will be asking voters to approve supplemental levies Tuesday. That includes Meridian, Nampa, and Kuna. Districts going to voters for more money has become commonplace in recent years.

A little more than a decade ago, about a third of Idaho schools had levies in place. Now it’s two thirds, according to Mike Ferguson, head of the non-profit research group Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy. In that time, the money coming from levies has tripled to about $190 million. 

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10:27 am
Wed February 19, 2014

State Of Idaho Won't Pursue Disciplinary Action Against Pocatello Coach

The posting of this photograph of Laraine Cook last year led to her firing from the Pocatello school district. She has since been re-hired.
Credit KIDK via Facebook

The Idaho Attorney General's office has notified an eastern Idaho teacher that the state Department of Education is not going to pursue disciplinary action against her teaching certificate.

The Idaho State Journal in a story on Wednesday reports that Deputy Attorney General Andrew J. Snook notified Laraine Cook the office reviewed her case and found insufficient basis to go forward.

Cook was dismissed as a substitute teacher in Pocatello Chubbuck School District 25 in October over a photograph posted on her Facebook page showing her fiance touching her bikini-clad chest.

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School Safety
9:28 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Most Idaho Schools Are Too Easy To Walk Into, Safety Report Finds

Boise elementary students wait for the bus
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education Monday released the results of an independent assessment of safety and security at the state’s schools.

This assessment was recommended by a school safety task force assembled in 2012 after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Matt McCarter oversaw the task force work for the department.

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7:30 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Idaho Isn't Very Fair About How It Doles Out School Cash, Report Finds

Credit FlickingerBrad / Flickr Creative Commons

A report from the New Jersey-based advocacy group the Education Law Center, says Idaho does not do a good job spending its education money fairly for all students.

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11:53 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Luna: Idaho May Have To Repay $13.3 Million In Education Broadband Cash

Credit Shane Pope / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho may have to repay $13.3 million if federal officials determine the state broke contracting rules on a $60 million education broadband project mired in a lawsuit for nearly as long as it's existed.

Department of Administration director Teresa Luna told the House Education Committee that even should Idaho prevail in the legal case, it still could be forced to repay the money that's gone to the Idaho Education Network.

The project is already growing far more expensive than Idaho intended.

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7:05 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Twin Falls Wants Voters To Approve $74 Million Bond To Ease School Overcrowding

These Twin Falls High School chemistry students would see safety and security upgrades at their school if the district's bond passes. Their counterparts at Canyon Ridge High would see an expansion to make room for nearly 500 more students.
Credit Beth Pendergrass / Twin Falls School District

The Twin Falls School District is asking voters for $73.8 million in the form of a 25 year bond. The district says it needs the money because their elementary schools are overcrowded and their middle and high schools soon will be.

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Election 2014
11:08 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Idaho Schools Chief Tom Luna Won't Seek Re-election

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna won't run for re-election, clearing the way for Democrats and Republicans in a race for an open seat.

Luna said Monday he decided not to run, feared his candidacy would become a political distraction and take away from his efforts to implement recommendations of a recent task force.

Luna says he's talked with former Republican state Sen. Melinda Smyser, wife of a prominent Capitol lobbyist, about running if he doesn't.

But he said he's not yet ready to endorse anybody.

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10:51 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Idaho Common Core Opponents And Supporters Line Up For Battle

Stay-at-home mom Stephanie Zimmerman leads the opposition to Common Core in Idaho.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho and 44 other states now use the Common Core State Standards. But public discomfort with this set of learning objectives has been growing, and lawmakers in several states have tried to get rid of them.

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12:02 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Common Core 101: Your Introductory Course To Idaho’s Education Standards

These eastern Idaho kindergartners have higher expectations than last year's class.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho school kids are now being taught using a new set of standards known as Common Core. Idaho lawmakers signed off on the standards three years ago, but there’s growing opposition for them to reconsider.

We’ll be reporting on Common Core in Idaho over the next few months, but first, the basics. Our education reporter Adam Cotterell gave Morning Edition host Scott Graf a tutorial.

Q: Adam, what is Common Core?

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9:34 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Your Ultimate Guide To Common Core In Idaho

A Nampa elementary student working on a classroom computer which will be used to give a Common Core related test later this school year.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho public school kids had a new set of learning objectives guiding their schools' curriculum and their teachers' lessons when they arrived for the start of the 2013 school year. These are the Common Core State Standards. They cover math and English language arts, which includes reading, writing and related subjects.

The Common Core (which Idaho’s Department of Education now refers to as the Idaho Core Standards) was developed by a consortium of states and has been adopted by 45, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.


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10:42 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Why Idaho's Schools Chief Wants Lawmakers To Collect Internet Sales Tax

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna told lawmakers Wednesday they must consider collecting the sales tax on Internet purchases in order to fund improvements to the state's education system.

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5:18 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Idaho Schools Stay Near The Bottom In Education Report Card

Preschoolers in Caldwell's P-16 program practice writing their names.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s education system saw no significant improvement in the past year, at least according to Education Week’s 2014 Quality Counts state report card. The annual report from the education-focused news outlet is frequently cited by all sides during education debates in Idaho.

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School Security
5:44 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Despite Calls To Arm Teachers, Most Schools Opt For Other Measures

A new controlled entry system in the Coeur d'Alene schools requires visitors to speak to the front office over video before coming in.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:07 am

Parents and students across the Northwest are seeing many new security measures as a result of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.

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7:30 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Idaho State University Sues Former Professor

Idaho State University has filed a motion in federal court seeking sanctions and $75,000 in legal fees from a former professor who has been embroiled in legal disputes with the school for several years.

The Idaho State Journal reports that attorneys for the school filed the motion against Habib Sadid last week.

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11:50 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Idaho Lands On Top 10 List For Increase In Homeless Students

More than 6,000 Idaho students were homeless during the 2011/2012 school year. That's .5 percent of all public school kids.
Credit BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

Student homelessness in Idaho has grown by 27 percent, putting the state in a list of 10 that have seen the largest increase in the number of kids without stable, reliable homes. That data from the U.S. Department of Education measured growth from the 2010/2011 school year to 2011/2012.

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6:35 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Idaho Democrats Want Education Improvement Recommendations Enshrined In Law

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Democrats in Idaho’s Legislature unveiled four bills Wednesday they plan to introduce in the 2014 session that starts in January. The bills would implement the recommendations of the state’s education improvement task force.

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12:03 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Why One Idaho Lawmaker Wants To Pilot Public Preschool

Kloc is in the middle of his first term as an Idaho legislator.
Credit Courtesy: Hy Kloc

A recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds more than two thirds of low income Idaho kids don’t go to preschool. But as we’ve reported before, two thirds of Idaho kids from high income families do go to preschool. That’s not surprising since Idaho is one of only a handful of states that does not have statewide, state-funded preschool.

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Higher Education
12:58 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Univ. Of South Dakota Provost Named New Univ. Of Idaho President

Credit University of South Dakota

A provost from the University of South Dakota has been tapped to become the University of Idaho's new president.

The Idaho State Board of Education announced Monday that Chuck Staben, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of South Dakota, was chosen out of the five finalists contending for the job.

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9:51 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Idaho School Boards Reject Firearms Training Program

Members of the Idaho School Boards Association set their 2014 legislative agenda at their annual meeting in Coeur d'Alene.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 5:11 pm

School boards across Idaho have rejected a contentious plan to set up gun training for staff and teachers.

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8:01 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Idaho Students' Math And Reading Scores Remain Stagnant


In just four years Idaho fourth and eighth graders have gone from above average standardized test scores to average, that's according to a U.S. Department of Education study out today.

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