Education

The federal government is suing a for-profit college chain in Idaho and Utah because prosecutors say the school illegally recruited students.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson announced the False Claims Act lawsuit against Stevens-Henager College Inc. and its owner, The Center for Excellence in Higher Education, on Thursday.

The federal government just released its latest national test scores for high school seniors and it’s not good news. A significant number of graduates are below standard for math and reading.

Courtesy John Eynon

John Eynon’s career path has taken several abrupt turns — from teaching music to serving as a U.S. Navy commander to working for major textbook publishers and back.

The Cottonwood high school teacher is planning his retirement from the classroom, while contemplating another career change. He is one of four Republicans seeking to succeed state schools superintendent Tom Luna.

Randy Jensen
Idaho Ed News

In this town of less than 4,500 people, Randy Jensen has taken 3,000 students to lunch.

Anyone who has played Little League baseball in the past 25 years has shared the field with Coach Jensen.

One of four Republicans vying for state superintendent of public instruction, Jensen hopes to bring the same small-town approach to statewide office.

“I’m really big on relationships – in small towns you’re able to build a lot of relationships with a lot of people,” he said. “In a small town, you can make a big difference.”

Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

Sherri Ybarra is a career educator and accomplished student. And that’s about all she likes to reveal publicly. 

The Republican candidate for state superintendent of public instruction prefers to keep her personal life out the papers and keep the questions and answers focused on Idaho education.

“I’d rather not say,” Ybarra said repeatedly during a recent interview at a Mountain Home coffee shop. She denied a request to be interviewed at her home or her Mountain Home School District office.

Courtesy Andy Grover

Andy Grover has been preparing for this moment all of his adult life.

The Republican candidate for state superintendent of public instruction has accomplished his checklist of tasks to place him where he is today — campaigning to oversee K-12 education in Idaho.

“I’ve always wanted to run,” Grover said. “I don’t do anything that’s not planned. We have a direction we’re going and we know why we’re doing it.”

Steve Swanson / NASA

Tuesday morning, Boise State University students will speak with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. They’ll get to ask the crew 20 questions. It’s all part of BSU’s Space Symposium.

All semester, BSU Space Broncos have been engaging with NASA, chatting online and taking part in the space agency’s research and programs. That work is culminating with a live chat with NASA astronauts Steve Swanson and Rick Mastracchio.

Maryland Gov Pics / Flickr Creative Commons

Students in Meridian will have a chance to get a free copy of Sherman Alexie's book "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" after the school board voted to remove the novel from its curriculum.

Two women in Washington have raised enough money to send 350 copies of a controversial book by Sherman Alexie to students in Meridian, Idaho.

Classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

The Idaho State Board of Education has approved tuition increases.

The board on Wednesday approved an increase of 4 percent at the University of Idaho and Boise State University.

Idaho State University will see a 3.5 percent increase and Lewis-Clark State College a 2 percent increase.

The increases mean full-time students at the University of Idaho will pay $6,784 a year and Boise State students will pay $6,640.

Idaho State University tuition rises to $6,566, while tuition at Lewis-Clark State College jumps to $5,900.

facebook.com/BYUID

Leaders at many of Idaho’s colleges and universities would argue their schools don’t get the credit they deserve. But the most underrated is Mormon Church-owned Brigham Young University-Idaho, at least according to the news website Business Insider.

Trustees at the Meridian School District in southwest Idaho have voted to remove an award winning novel from the school's curriculum after some parents complained.

The Idaho Statesman reports in a story on Wednesday that trustees voted 2-1 to keep in place a hold on "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie.

The National Book Award winning novel is narrated by a 14-year-old whose transfer makes him the only Native American in an all-white school.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho school kids in 3rd through 8th, and 11th grades will be taking a new test starting Monday. The Smarter Balanced Assessment replaces the I-SAT which Idaho had been using to measure student achievement for years. Smarter Balanced is based on the Common Core standards Idaho and most other states have adopted. Students in more than 20 states are taking it this week.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University has released its preliminary plans for implementing the state’s new guns-on-campus law. It and other state colleges and universities have until July 1 before the law goes into effect.

The update from the university came in the form of an email Thursday from university president Bob Kustra. He says the school is in the process of revising policies and procedures and that administrators have already made several decisions. 

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Lawmakers in Idaho's House of Representatives have approved the state's public schools budget, including a 1 percent pay increase for teachers and administrators and money to improve classroom technology.

The House passed the $1.37 billion budget in a series of seven bills on Wednesday evening. The money represents about a 5 percent increase over last year. It now goes to the Senate.

Supporters said they felt it was important hold some money back this year to rebuild the state's coffers in case the economy again turns sour.

Classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe has donated $1.2 million to 52 educational programs in Idaho.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports the tribe made the announcement Thursday.

The money is going to support educational efforts ranging from reading, music, arts, science, college scholarship programs and vocational preparation.

The chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Chief Allen, says the money will allow students to focus on learning.

Most of the money was distributed in Kootenai and Benewah counties in northern Idaho.

Three New Schools Approved By Twin Falls Voters: Twin Falls voters on Tuesday approved the biggest local school district bond ever — nearly $74 million to build three schools and pay for other facility projects. The total vote reached 67.7 percent — the required supermajority — with 3,079 voters supporting the request and 1,469 voters opposed. - Times-News

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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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.

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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