Education

Idaho Ed News

The state has divvied up its $11.25 million earmarked to boost elementary reading skills.

And once again, the payments illustrate the scope of Idaho’s literacy challenge.

This fall, Idaho school districts and charter schools will receive money in hopes of helping nearly 37,000 kindergarten through third-grade students catch up in reading.

Idaho Ed News

Idaho students topped the national average in a 2015 standardized science test.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress tested fourth-, eighth- and 12th-graders in science — and on Thursday morning, NAEP released state results for fourth and eighth grades. NAEP tests are not given in all schools in Idaho or elsewhere, but are instead administered to a sample of U.S. schools.

The Idaho highlights:

AP

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have found plenty to talk about in two testy, nationally televised debates.

But K-12 hasn’t made its way through the noise.

And there’s no guarantee Wednesday night’s third and final debate will be any different.

So, if the two major party candidates were forced to debate K-12 topics, what would it sound like? To get a sense of how a K-12 debate might play out, Idaho Education News gleaned comments from the candidates’ websites and media interviews.

Question: What letter grade would you give the nation’s schools?

Mark Ramsay / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s 2014-15 graduation rate again fell well below the national average — but the numbers showed some signs of improvement.

Idaho’s ranking moved up, slightly, and the state’s graduation rate is nudging closer to the national average.

Idaho’s 78.9 percent graduation rate ranked No. 39 nationally, according to figures released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education.

Northwest Nazarene University

Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) in Nampa welcomes its thirteenth president Thursday. The university is holding an inauguration of Joel Pearsall, who follows in his father’s footsteps. Pearsall's father was president of the Christian college from 1973 to 1983.

According to a press release, the new leader received his undergraduate degree from the school in 1980, and then went on to law school in Oregon.

Idaho Ed News

If the 2017 Legislature wants to add another $100 million or so to the K-12 budget, it looks like the money will be there.

On Tuesday morning, legislative budget-writers started looking over some of the numbers that will define the session that will begin in early January. And while their counterparts in other states are facing the prospect of spending cuts, Idaho lawmakers could have ample tax revenues on hand.

Idaho Ed News

The State Board of Education wants to crack down on bad teacher evaluation data.

Specifically, the board is looking at imposing fines against school superintendents who deliberately send false data to the state.

The board gave the idea its preliminary approval Monday morning — during a  meeting that was held via conference call. Reporters received word of the meeting only a few hours ahead of time.

Board members endorsed adding language on teacher evaluation data to the career ladder law — the state’s five-year plan to boost teacher salaries.

Otto Kitsinger / AP

Idaho first lady Lori Otter has launched a new program to promote school safety across the state.

The Post Register reports that Otter on Thursday at Shelley High School announced the Idaho Office of School Safety and Security, which will foster better school safety habits in light of recent school shootings.

The initiative was launched July 1 under the Division of Building Safety and will conduct security checks at all Idaho schools every three years.

Districts across the state will collect at least $7.7 million in “emergency” property taxes — money designed to cover the costs of growth.

In school funding parlance, the additional taxes are known as emergency levies. School districts qualify for emergency levies if their preliminary fall student numbers are up from the preceding year. School boards can pass an emergency levy without voter approval.

And for districts in the state’s growth areas, the emergency levy is a perennial tax of sorts — even though trustees can only approve the tax for one year at a time.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Last fall, more than 1,400 international students attended Idaho State University. This year, the number of international students enrolled has dropped by 36 percent. The decline comes after reports of racially charged attacks against some ISU students from the Middle East last spring.  

Steve Slocum / AP

New federal standards mean that children from low-income families will spend more time in Head Start preschool classes.

The Times-News reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new performance standards last week that are designed to improve the Head Start program. Under the new guidelines, Head Start will provide center-xollbased services four days a week instead of the two it offered before.

Jon Rawlinson / Flickr Creative Commons

A national education policy advocacy organization is holding its 3rd annual conference in Boise this week. The agenda is mostly what you’d expect, a lot of speeches, which started Wednesday night and run through Friday. But the conference also features a reality TV twist.

Kimberlee Kruesi / AP

Idaho's top schools chief says she wants a 6.6 percent increase in education spending for 2017, requesting more money for teacher salaries and literacy improvement.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra released her plan Thursday. In it, Idaho's public school funding would bump up $104.7 million more than what lawmakers allocated this year.

Idaho Ed News

The state does not owe back payments to vendors on the defunct Idaho Education Network project, according to Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

And Wasden says the vendors — Education Networks of America and CenturyLink — must return the millions of dollars they received for the mothballed broadband project.

Idaho Ed News

Ten years ago today, Jim Risch was a governor in a hurry.

Appointed in May 2006, Risch was halfway through a seven-month term when he convinced the Legislature to sign off on one of his top priorities.

Risch’s bill to slash property taxes for public schools by $260 million passed on Aug. 25, 2006, at the end of a one-day special legislative session.

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