There’s a goal that drives much of what Idaho does in its education system. That goal is for 60 percent of 25-to 34-year-olds to get post-high school education by the year 2020.
That goal gets a lot of attention but, you don’t often hear that it’s broken down into categories. Mike Rush, executive director of Idaho’s State Board of Education says there are three different goals within the larger one.
The state of Idaho has a singular goal when it comes to education. Everyone is pulling for it, from the State Board to the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education. It’s that 60 percent of Idahoans between 25 and 34-years-old will have a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2020.
A Nampa elementary student works on a classroom computer. Idaho students already take their state assessment, the ISAT, on computers but the new Common Core linked exam will be much more high tech. It will use computer adaptive technology which will tailor question difficulty to how a student answered previous questions.
This week the U.S. Department of Education offered states an extension on including tests tied to the new Common Core state standards in teacher evaluations. Idaho won’t take that extension. The state is actually moving up some of its Common Core testing.
Teacher preparation programs at Idaho universities were on par with the rest of the country in a new study. But the country as a whole did terribly. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) looked at more than 1,000 teacher education programs around the U.S.
Getting more Idahoans to go on to college is the top education goal for the state. But sometimes state agencies disagree about how to realize that. Take a report issued last year by Idaho’s Office of Performance Evaluations. OPE evaluates state agencies and programs.
Teacher contract negotiations in the Nampa School District appear stalled. The teacher’s union Thursday night pushed for raises and no furlough days. The district had proposed 14 furlough days next year.
Nampa has been fighting through a budget crisis all year. It’s eliminated jobs, closed one school and made numerous other cuts. But district officials say they still need to cut $3.5 million from next year’s budget.
A Boise software company Wednesday will announce a cash infusion from investors totaling $2.5 million. Silverback Learning Solutions hasn’t been doing business two years yet, but CEO Jim Lewis says its sales total more than a million dollars and it has 20 full time employees. It also has one unusual partner that gets 8 percent of profits; the Blaine County School District. Lewis retired from his job as Blaine County’s superintendent to form the company.
Republican Tim Corder served two terms in Idaho’s state Senate. During that time, the farmer and truck driver became a hero to pre-kindergarten advocates and earned the ire of some of his colleagues. Corder's legislative career ended last year when he lost his primary race to a more conservative opponent. I met him last summer as he was packing up his senate office. Here is an excerpt of our conversation.
Q: How would you characterize your support for early childhood education during your time in the legislature?
President Obama’s proposal to expand early childhood education could bring nearly $20 million to Idaho the first year. The president has been talking about increasing access to pre-kindergarten education for months and has proposed raising tobacco taxes to pay for it.
Across the Northwest, students are wrapping up their school year. By the time Idaho high school students return in the fall, their classrooms will be on their way to becoming wireless hotspots. The Idaho Department of Education is preparing to spend more than $2 million to put high-speed wireless Internet in all public high schools.
It's part of what Idaho education officials like to call the “21st Century Classroom.” They're asking for bids over the summer on a contract to have WiFi up and running across the state by March 2014.
Forty U.S. states offer pre-kindergarten programs. Idaho is not one of them. Here, about one third of 3 and 4-year-olds attend a public or private preschool. But none attend one that’s funded or sanctioned by the state. However, that doesn't stop some school districts from offering pre-k programs of their own.
Idaho is one of 10 states that doesn't offer public preschool to children. Over the next few days we'll examine why the Gem State doesn't have free pre-k, what impact that's having on kids, and the current discussion around early childhood education in Idaho.
But first, here's a map that shows the 10 states without public preschool. The states shaded in coral don't offer preschool. One thing we noticed, they're mostly concentrated in the West. Use the zoom and arrow tools to move around the map and explore.
Nampa teachers’ union representatives sat down this morning to negotiate with a district hired attorney. They were expecting to talk about furlough days and other ways to climb out of the district's budget hole. The district took the offensive with a contract offer that includes 14 furlough days in the 2013 /2014 school year. The offer does not allow raises that would have come from increased experience.