Idaho’s Reading Challenge
Behind every score on the Idaho Reading Indicator, behind every intervention plan to help an at-risk student, there is a child’s story. And the parents’ story. Stories of struggles, successes and uncertainties.
Gov. Brad Little knows it will take a sustained effort to improve literacy in Idaho. But he says everything else in education will build off of it. “I can’t have them college and career ready if they’re not literate.”
Idaho’s literacy program is already reshaping early education — changing the school day for thousands of young children, and offering new options to their parents.
By and large, teachers say the new Idaho Reading Indicator provides better data and timelier information than its predecessor. But some teachers and parents concede the online format poses problems.
“We can’t hang our hat on that we can’t get the job done because we can’t control the kids we get,” said Debbie Critchfield, president of the State Board of Education.
Some of Idaho’s reading success stories are unfolding in remote, rural schools. Scores are improving significantly. Student growth far exceeds the statewide rate.
Every fall, school districts and charter schools must explain how they spend their share of literacy money. They also have to set goals, though some schools seem to take goal-setting more seriously than others.