Idaho’s Reading Challenge
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.
Fighting the effects of poverty
This series identifies a pervasive problem in education, how poverty affects learning and achieving. But the series also shows the adverse trend can be broken. We traveled to high-poverty, high-performing schools in Montana, Washington, Nevada and Idaho to share their stories of success. These places are doing something different to gain different outcomes.
Obstacles and Options
After eight years, Idaho has made only limited progress toward an ambitious goal to convince high school graduates to continue their education. What will it take to change the trends — and change the lives of young Idahoans? Idaho Education News reporter Kevin Richert spent five months talking to students, teachers and policymakers about the state’s “60 percent” goal, and the demographic realities that stand in the way.
Inspire Idaho Series
Our year-long series Inspire Idaho features districts and schools doing something differently for a better outcome for kids.
Life after high school
In “Life After High School: Options And Outcomes for Idaho Graduates,” Idaho Education News takes an in-depth look at the state’s “60 percent goal.” Why is Idaho still struggling to convince high school graduates to continue their education? We look at the policies that shape this issue — and talk to students about their plans and the personal decisions.
Idaho’s Tax Overhaul
In August 2006, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch was midway through his seven-month stint as Idaho’s governor when he brokered a deal to slash Idaho property taxes. Risch’s eliminated $260 million in public school property tax levies and uses a $210 million sales tax increase to make up most of the difference. The legislative action took place during a special one-day legislative session on Aug. 25, 2006. Journalist Kevin Richert analyzed what happened over the past decade, in terms of property taxes, property values and student attendance. This is a look back at the politics that changed the way Idaho pays for its schools.
About 2,690 immigrant students attended Idaho schools in 2015-16 — slightly less than 1 percent of the state’s overall student enrollment. Debate over refugee education has little to do with test scores or graduation rates. The debate instead centers on national and homeland security. In this series, journalist Kevin Richert and multimedia specialist Andrew Reed met with students, educators and Idahoans most affected by the debate. Here are their findings.
Four of every 10 kindergarten through third-grade students in Idaho show up for school unable to read at grade level. The 2016 Idaho Legislature awarded elementary schools with a share of $11.25 million in state money to improve reading. It’s up to local educators to figure out how to spend their money — and how to address their schools’ unique challenges and demographics. Read about our findings.
Financing the Future
At least 46 of Idaho’s 115 school districts asked local patrons to support bond issues, plant facilities levies or supplemental levies on March 14, 2017. All but one were successful at a cost of nearly $700 million in local property taxes. Idaho Education News and Boise State Public Radio partnered to produce a series that previewed the statewide elections and EdNews journalist Kevin Richert investigated the results.
A five day series on four-day schools
In the 2015-16 school year, 26,881 students attended school only four days a week in Idaho. They accounted for 9 percent of Idaho’s student population. The four-day school calendar has been an unproven experiment — no one can say with certainty whether the schedule helps or hinders student achievement. Most concede the schedule does not save money. Opinions are rampant. Hard statistics are scarce. And the state’s political leaders have done little to find answers.