Idaho Education Notecard August 4

This week’s education news:

Reading scores trend upward. The spring scores on the Idaho Reading Indicator are in, and the numbers are moving in the right direction. Seventy-three percent of kindergartners through third-graders are reading at grade level, up from 72 percent in 2015-16 — and fewer students are lagging behind grade level. The spring scores come one year into an $11.25 million-a-year state initiative designed to provide extra help for at-risk readers. More information HERE.

Superintendents get a lesson in ESSA. Idaho school superintendents gathered in Boise for their annual summer conference, and the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act was a talking point. Among the superintendents’ concerns: How will Idaho identify its lowest-performing schools, as the federal law requires? The State Board of Education will vote next week on Idaho’s plan to comply with ESSA. More information HERE.

Little, Ahlquist talk education. In other news from the superintendents’ conference, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Tommy Ahlquist spent more than an hour talking education issues. There were few big disagreements between the two Republican gubernatorial candidates; they agreed on the need for higher teacher pay, and said they were optimistic about the future of Idaho education. The third major GOP candidate for governor, Rep. Raul Labrador, did not attend, citing a prior family commitment. More information HERE.

College, 24/7/365? Idaho’s higher education task force spent Friday talking about ways to get more Idahoans to enroll in college and get their degrees. One idea: a statewide digital campus that would allow students to take low-cost online courses on their schedule. The task force will vote on recommendations on Sept. 15. More information HERE.

Shakeup in Ybarra’s shop. State superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s State Department of Education is losing three key staffers. Deputy superintendent Marcia Beckman, transportation director Doug Scott and spokesman Jeff Church are leaving Ybarra’s shop. Meanwhile, Ybarra’s point person at the Statehouse continues to work under an unusual and costly contract arrangement. More information HERE.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger with Idaho Education News ( Idaho Education News is an independent news site focused on education policy and politics, funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Richert has worked in the Idaho news media since 1985, as a reporter, editor and columnist.

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