Education

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.

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.

student, desk, classroom
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.

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.

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.

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.

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

nationsreportcard.org

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.

Chief Tahgee, Fort Hall, Kindergarten
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This new kindergarten classroom on eastern Idaho’s Fort Hall Indian Reservation looks and feels much like any other. Tiny tables and chairs fill the room, bright drawings and artwork hang on the walls, and small coats hang on low-to-the-ground hooks. It’s the sound of the classroom that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

About 30 five-and-six-year-olds are learning to speak Shoshone.

“Benna, ne naniha J.J.”

“Ne naniha Miley.”

Classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Some eastern Idaho school districts are hiring new teachers to train the old teachers.

The Post Register reports the Idaho Falls School District and the Bonneville Joint School District are among those hiring instructional coaches, who help educate fellow teachers on new strategies and resources for the classroom.

Officials at a school district in north Idaho say a plan to arm teachers is off. The proposal has been generating controversy in the Sandpoint area.

P-16 preschool class Caldwell
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Advocates for state-supported preschool hope to tackle the issue amid increased interest in changing Idaho's public education system.

One Democratic lawmaker will be pushing a $1.4 million pilot program during the 2014 Legislature.

And the Idaho Statesman reports Beth Oppenheimer, of Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, believes more people are recognizing that taxpayer-financed preschool education programs are sorely missing from the state's education offerings.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho teachers and education policy makers often talk about the importance of students' ability to compete in the global economy. A big part of that is comparing student performance across state lines and international borders. Now, a recent study gives Idaho educators data to back up their battle cries.

In the study, Idaho students rank just behind Finland and Israel in math, and slightly ahead of England and Hong Kong in science.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s State Board of Education wants 60 percent of Idahoans 25-to-34-years-old to have a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2020.  A study released this week finds the state may be closer than people suspected to reaching that goal.

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