Idaho’s Department of Education is proposing several new rules that would affect what kids learn. But creating a new education rule in Idaho is a bit like a soccer game. There’s a long period of passing back and forth before the goal is reached. Take this one: a proposal to require elementary students learn cursive handwriting.
The Spokesman-Review reported Friday that Tennessee-based Education Networks of America and the State Department of Education agreed the company will be paid only for schools it connects with Wi-Fi system, not get a flat fee.
About 200 Idaho high schools have signed up to get Wi-Fi internet under the state’s new contract with a Tennessee-based company. Signing that contract brought the state’s Department of Education under fire last week. Some lawmakers thought the multi-year agreement violated the spirit of what the legislature had authorized the department to do when it set aside $2.25 million for Wi-Fi in the coming school year.
Idaho’s Department of Education signed a contract Wednesday for $2.1 million a year with Tennessee-based company Education Networks of America (ENA) to provide Wi-Fi internet access to the state’s high schools. But that came after a day of criticism around the decision.
Shelby Harris uses Khan Academy and her Google Chromebooks for what's sometimes called a flipped classroom. Students get part of their instruction online so she can spend most of her time working with individuals or small groups.
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.
A widely circulated article says Idaho school districts won’t save much money by switching to a four day school week. Pocatello’s Idaho State Journal cites a report called “Review of a 4-Day School Week,” which says there are minimal savings when districts switch to a four day school week.
But that story fails to point out that the report was published five years ago, in 2008. Since that time the number of Idaho districts with a four day week has tripled. For some districts even small savings were a big temptation.
Idaho lawmakers are considering a re-write of the state's charter school law. Thursday they'll hear from the public.
Idaho was an early adopter of charter schools. Fifteen years ago, the state passed a law to allow the publicly funded, privately run schools to be created. Since then the only major change has been the formation of a commission to oversee charter schools. In recent years, though, Idaho has slipped from being one of the charter-friendliest states in the country to one of the least.
Idaho’s high school graduation rate is better than all but nine states with 84 percent of students graduating on time. That’s according to a report out this week from the U.S. Department of Education. But the annual report has a multi-year lag. This one looks at the 2009-2010 school year.
It also uses a method of counting grads and dropouts that even the authors consider antiquated. It compares the number of diplomas a state hands out with the number of students registered for 9th grade four years earlier.
Idaho’s Department of Education will reconvene a group that made safety recommendations for Idaho schools four years ago. That’s from a memo that schools’ superintendent Tom Luna sent Monday to district leaders, charter school administrators and school principals. The memo comes in response to Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut.
Idaho’s School Superintendent wants the state to spend 5.1 percent more on education next year. Tom Luna released his proposed budget Thursday for fiscal year 2014. In January he’ll ask lawmakers to approve it.