Education

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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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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.

Technology, education, computer
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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

common core, education, student
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.

Timeline

Idaho Capitol Dome
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.

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.

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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