Idaho has a big education problem, and it starts early. Fewer than half of Idaho’s kindergartners aren’t ready to learn to read. Thousands of young children can’t read at grade level. If they don’t catch up by the end of third grade, they’re likely to struggle as long as they stay in school.
To examine the problem — and seek solutions — Idaho Education News reporter Kevin Richert talked to teachers, administrators and parents from West Bonner County to Idaho Falls.
This eight-part series looks at what’s working, and what gets in the way. This series also examines Idaho’s $26 million investment in literacy, and whether this taxpayer money will make a difference.
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.”
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.