Education

Idaho Education News

A report tracking $16.7 million in teacher “leadership premiums” — compiled by the State Department of Education and presented to two legislative committees — is fraught with math errors.

The report came under some harsh scrutiny in the House Education Committee Thursday morning. A State Department of Education official acknowledged the errors in the report, but said it was impractical to doublecheck the schools’ math.

Courtesy Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Since we learned recently that a for-profit medical school will be built in Meridian, we’ve also heard criticism that it won't help solve Idaho’s doctor shortage. Much of that criticism is about the lack of residency positions in Idaho. Critics argue doctors don’t practice where they go to medical school, but where they do their residency. Idaho only has 41 spots for residents and competition is already stiff.

Idaho Education News

The state has been negotiating with two Idaho Education Network vendors since October — in hopes of settling more than $6 million in legal claims.

But when the state absorbed another resounding defeat in court Tuesday, the negotiations got derailed.

“Right now we’re in a little bit of a cooling-off period,” Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill told Idaho Education News Thursday. “People want to go back to their own corner.”

Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Supreme Court sided with a district judge Tuesday, voiding the contract for the Idaho Education Network broadband project.

The court’s unanimous ruling could have $25 million worth of implications for the state — and its taxpayers. Idaho could be forced to write off or give back federally administered fees that were supposed to offset the costs of the high school Internet system.

Idaho's public schools are on track to receive a 7.4 percent budget increase under a plan from the Legislature's budget-setting committee.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved a 6.8 percent boost — about $100.3 million — for public schools on Monday morning. But some components of the K-12 budget plan are still working their way through the House and Senate, and committee members said they expect those bills will bring the total public education budget to a 7.4 percent increase over the previous year.

dontfailidaho.org/screengrab

The Boise School Board and the district’s superintendent have come out with some sharp criticism of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. The rebuke comes in the form of an op-ed related to how the foundation portrays Idaho schools. 

At the center of the controversy is a TV commercial from the Albertson Foundation’s “Don’t Fail Idaho” campaign. In it, a school bus with five teenagers stops in the middle of nowhere. Four get off and the bus drives away. Then a voice says...

Boise State University School of Public Service

In a public opinion poll from Boise State University that we’ve been reporting on this week, respondents overwhelmingly named education as the most important issue in Idaho. But, that desire to focus on education comes with a pretty low opinion of the state’s school system.

Idaho Education News

Last time around, it took lawsuits to force Idaho to rewrite its school funding formula.

Then it took a ton of new money to seal the deal. The spending increase was huge — and today, it would take more than $350 million to match it.

That was 1994.

Now, fast forward to 2016.

Herald Post / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho schools chief Sherri Ybarra is proposing a 7.5 percent hike in public school funding. The increase would go toward more money for teacher salaries and restoring funding to pre-recession levels for Idaho's 115 school districts to spend on paying insurance, utilities or other operations costs.

Ybarra presented her budget to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. She is requesting spending $1.5 billion for fiscal 2017, which is nearly $110 million more than this year's budget.

Monash University / Flickr Creative Commons

Regional medical school administrators are requesting more money to expand the number of seats for Idaho in a regional program that educates medical students.

Mary Barinaga, an assistant dean with the University of Washington, says they need an additional $278,900 to add five additional Idaho seats in WWAMI — the partnership between Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho and the University of Washington.

The request would fulfill a 2009 plan to increase the number of Idaho students to 40 per class.

Boise State University

Many Boiseans woke up Friday to news that a former president at Boise State University had passed away.

Dr. John Keiser served as president from 1978 to 1991, and is credited with beginning a major transformation at the institution. For instance, facilities like Morrison Center and Taco Bell Arena were built during his tenure. The famous blue football turf was also installed while Keiser was president.

Idaho Education News

A year ago at this time, a STEM Action Center wasn’t even so much as a proposal.

Angela Hemingway was working with the State Department of Education. She was “deep in the weeds” of assessment and accountability issues, and the idea of a STEM center wasn’t really on her mind.

In 2016, the brand-new STEM Action Center could get a big cash infusion from the Legislature. Hemingway, the center’s executive director, is fielding questions from lawmakers about how the money would be used.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

In recent years, funding for higher education has been a secondary focus for Idaho lawmakers. Following the recession, K-12 schools were lawmakers’ top education priority. But now - amid continued revenue growth and changing workforce needs - higher education is being discussed more and more. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter proposed this week the state’s four-year colleges and universities get a nearly 9 percent increase in state funding next fiscal year.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

In his State of the State speech Monday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter said education is his top legislative priority this year. The Republican’s budget proposal includes millions of dollars in new funding for K-through-12 schools. 

But based on percentage, the increases Otter is requesting for higher education are even larger.  The governor’s budget hints at some changing priorities in state government.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Boise State University has achieved an academic distinction its leaders say has been more than a decade in the making. The school announced Wednesday its classification as a “Doctoral Research” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

To achieve the designation, institutions need to award at least 20 research and scholarship doctoral degrees in a given year.

Idaho Education News

Idaho has one of the nation’s strongest teacher evaluation policies, according to a national report issued Tuesday.

Idaho requires annual teacher evaluations, a national “best practice,” says the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. The group also gave Idaho conditional praise for using student achievement as a teacher evaluation metric.

John Kelly / Boise State University

A Boise State chemistry professor has been named the 2015 Idaho Professor of the Year by two national education organizations.

Susan Shadle is among 35 state winners and the 10th Boise State professor to claim the award, which is handed out by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Discovery Center of Idaho

The Discovery Center of Idaho wants more young people to get excited about science, technology, engineering and math – better known as STEM. To do that, the center has partnered with another Boise nonprofit, Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Center. The two groups are asking people in the community to sponsor 50 low-income families with memberships to the science center.

Mecale Causey is with the Discovery Center. She says the idea fits perfectly with their overall mission.

learning elementary student teacher
Alvin Trusty / Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly 10 percent of Idaho children go to school just four days a week. That’s almost 27,000 students. Dozens of districts across the state have switched to four day weeks since the Great Recession in hopes of saving money. But as Idaho Education News reports, nobody knows how that impacts students.

Idaho Education News

 

Linda Clark has resigned abruptly — and effective immediately — as superintendent of the West Ada School District.

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