Analyst: Dyer, Darlene
As national news broadcasts show how our country’s students are over-tested in the newly released report by the Council of Great Schools, the state of Idaho has also taken action. Idaho’s State Board of Education approved a one-year waiver submitted by the Superintendent of Public Instruction on its ISAT 2.0 (or SBAC) that temporarily excuses ninth-graders in public schools. This will be the third year in a row these students will not be required to take the test though they will have an option to take it if they so desire. Superintendent Sherrie Ybarra claimed fiscal responsibility in her actions by saving the state $300,000 to $400,000 with eliminating the requirement for this year. In addition, Superintendent Ybarra said because the tests were still new, they should not be a graduation requirement for students in Idaho. The Board also waived this requirement for sophomores.
The issue of broadband access for the statewide testing has plagued Idaho ever since a district court ruled earlier this year that a statewide contract that set up such a program was indeed invalid. Now districts have to shop to secure internet for themselves. This January a special legislative committee will make a recommendation to the Idaho Legislature. The committee has been listening to several presentations by Internet providers who have made suggestions to improve broadband access for public schools.
Addressing Needs of English Learners
Rural Schools in Idaho witness a significant gap between the performance of Hispanic and white students. The recent creation of a new State of Education department called the Limited English Proficiency and Migrant Education Department will assist in working to close such a gap. This new department will provide equitable learning opportunities in academic content and achievement standards and promote relevant pedagogies and curricula tailored for English language learners and migratory children, as set forth in Title I and Title III of the ESEA. In addition, they will assist school districts in meeting all state and federal regulations and helping schools address social and cultural issues unique to this population.
Sources of statewide education news:
Idaho State Department of Education
Idaho Education News
Education Week : Idaho
Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho