Idaho education colleges get spotty grades

When it comes to preparing teachers for the classroom, Idaho colleges and universities get a “D” grade, according to a Washington, D.C.-based group.

The new National Council on Teacher Quality report found Idaho teacher education programs lacking in several areas. Among the findings:

  • Idaho isn’t selective enough. Only 22 percent of the state’s teacher education programs restrict admissions to the top half of college-bound students. Nationally, the average is 28 percent.
  • Reading programs fail to measure up. Only a quarter of the state’s elementary instruction programs teach what the report calls “effective, scientifically based reading instruction.” The national average is 29 percent.
  • Idaho’s special education teaching certificate, covering kindergarten through 12th grade, fails to note differences between working with elementary and secondary students.

Not all the news is bad, however.

Only a quarter of Idaho’s education programs provide elementary math training that, according to the report, “mirrors the practices of higher performing nations such as Singapore and South Korea.” Still, Idaho’s 25 percent exceeds the national average of 19 percent.

Meanwhile, Boise State University received some praise from the council. Its undergraduate program in secondary instruction made the council’s honor roll, joining 83 other colleges nationally.

Now, let’s put Idaho’s overall “D” grade in context.

Nine other states and the District of Columbia received identical marks. California, Illinois and Utah were among other states receiving “D’s.”

Nine states scored below Idaho, including neighboring Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming and Montana.

And among the 31 states that scored better than Idaho, none received better than a B-minus.

No one can accuse the council of grading on a curve.

Disclosure: Idaho Education News is housed under Boise State University’s College of Education, and its staff members are BSU employees.