Idaho Education Notecard for August 18, 2017

Idaho Education News – Idaho schools plan for the eclipse — in different ways
Kevin Richert: Education Notecard, Aug. 18, 2017

This week’s education news:

Eclipse day. Perhaps you’ve heard, but there’s a total eclipse of the sun coming Monday, and Idaho is right in the path of it. Idaho schools are planning for the event in different ways; some will be closed, while some will use the event as a teaching moment. Weiser High  School is using the event as a moneymaker, renting out campsites on its athletic field at $100 a pop. Find more on the story here.

Ahlquist on education. In an interview Tuesday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist said he supports a voucher system — a controversial private school funding mechanism forbidden under the state’s constitution. But Ahlquist said Idaho needs to take a careful approach, since school choice probably isn’t viable in much of rural Idaho. Ahlquist was noncommittal on several other education issues, including the new proposed science standards. Find more on the story here.

Charter schools lose support. Support for charter schools dropped significantly in the past year, according to a national survey released Tuesday. Charter schools, a centerpiece of President Trump’s education agenda, have support from 39 percent of survey respondents, down from 51 percent in 2016. With 36 percent of survey respondents opposed to charter schools and the rest of respondents undecided, the numbers land within the survey’s margin of error. Find more on the story here.

Now, it’s Otter’s move. Idaho’s plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act went to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk on Wednesday. He has 30 days to review a document that establishes a brand-new school accountability metric and represents Idaho’s application for $83 million in federal dollars. The feds are slowly approving other states’ ESSA plans; Idaho’s is due on Sept. 18. Find more on the story here.

For Idaho schools, a $50.3 million dividend. The money won’t come until 2018-19, but Idaho schools are due for a funding boost off of state lands. Idaho schools will receive a $50.3 million share of proceeds from state lands, a 7 percent increase. The money comes from increased timber sales on Idaho’s 2.4 million acres of endowment land. Find more on the story 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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