After nearly 90 minutes of constitutional arguments and pointed questions, a turf war between state superintendent Sherri Ybarra, the Legislature and the State Board of Education is now in the Idaho Supreme Court's hands.
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More than two-thirds of spring 2017 test scores failed to meet the benchmark goals school leaders set in the fall of 2016, according to an Idaho Education News analysis of test scores and local reading plans.
Idaho high school juniors are more likely to miss the two “college-readiness” benchmarks on the SAT than hit both benchmarks.
Only 32 percent of juniors met the SAT benchmarks, down from 33 percent a year ago.
Idaho released the April SAT scores last week, and the news isn’t encouraging. Idaho’s free “SAT Day” allows high school juniors a chance to see if they’re ready for college. SAT Day also takes a snapshot of Idaho high schoolers — 13 months before graduation day.
Jeff Dillon says he is running for state schools superintendent to help create a “climate of possibility.”
But first, the Wilder School District superintendent says he needs to raise money and elevate his statewide profile as he challenges a sitting incumbent. And that’s why he submitted his paperwork Friday to launch his campaign.
In 2015-16, legislators earmarked $16.1 million to reward teachers who take on leadership roles.
Lawmakers want these ongoing “leadership premiums” to go to select teachers who take on added responsibilities. Yet 19 districts gave a share of the money to at least 90 percent of their teaching staff.
Lawmakers also wanted eligible teachers to receive a significant bonus — writing an $850 minimum into state statute. Eighteen districts and charter schools awarded smaller premiums anyway. The smallest was $75.
For school districts across Idaho, a $709 million election day looms.
At least 45 of Idaho’s 115 school districts will seek bond issues, plant facilities levies or supplemental levies on March 14, according to Idaho Education News research. The bottom line: At least $709.2 million in ballot measures are on ballot.
Under Idaho law, school districts can run ballot measures on four election days: in March, May, August and November.
Why the logjam on March 14? Timing is certainly a factor.
On Feb. 9, House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding convinced the House Local Government Committee to introduce a proposal to reduce Idaho’s two-thirds supermajority.
And that’s as far as it’s likely to go. Erpelding has been told his proposal will not get a hearing. By his count, there have been 11 attempts to reduce the supermajority since 1990, and none have made it through the Legislature.
“I guess I can get in line,” Erpelding, D-Boise, said Friday.
House Speaker Scott Bedke has joined 140 GOP officials in endorsing Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s controversial choice for education secretary.
Bedke co-signed a letter calling DeVos “an advocate and ally for all children.” The letter was signed by state school superintendents, lieutenant governors and legislators from all 50 states. Bedke was the lone Idahoan to sign on — and said he did so at the urging of the Republican National Committee.
Idaho’s average teacher salary has increased by slightly more than 5 percent since 2015, when the state adopted a five-year plan to boost pay.
Like many averages, this number tells only part of the story.
In 26 districts and charters across Idaho, average salaries increased by more than 10 percent. In 19 districts and charters, the average actually decreased — which happens when experienced teachers retire or resign, and entry-level teachers take their place.