Listening session is Boise bound

It’s the Treasure Valley’s turn.

The governor’s Taskforce for Improving Education has traveled much of the state listening to anyone who has an opinion about K-12 education. This is a rare opportunity to speak in front of key leaders in Idaho education. Some cities have taken advantage — about 130 showed up and 27 shared their ideas in Coeur d’Alene. Other cities, not so much — about 25 showed up in Lewiston and only six spoke.

“The goal is to hear from the public,” said Marilyn Whitney, communications officer for the State Board of Education.

This is the final week of the listening tour, which hits Eastern Idaho on Monday and Tuesday and circles back to Boise on Thursday.

Here’s this week’s schedule:

  • April 22: Tingey Auditorium, University Place, 1776 Science Center Drive, Idaho Falls.
  • April 23: Century High School, 7801 W. Diamondback Drive, Pocatello.
  • April 25: Lincoln Auditorium, Idaho Capitol Building, 700 W. Jefferson, Boise.
  • All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and are scheduled to end at 9 p.m.

Gov. Butch Otter appointed the education task force to produce recommendations about improving K-12 education in Idaho. The 31 members first wanted to travel the state and hear from people.

 Idaho Education News has reported on every listening session and will cover the remaining three so check back here for coverage.

Task force chair Richard Westerberg begins each forum with a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation that includes some of the grim statistics in Idaho education. He also talks about the strategies of the task force.

“We want to get feedback on those initial strategies,” Whitney said. “Also, the task force members have some questions they’d like to ask.”

Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, who serves on the task force, said he’d like to know how people would measure a school’s success, possibly by graduation rates or test scores, for example. Sen. John Goedde said he’d like to hear what people would do with schools that repeatedly fail to measure up.

Task force members have agreed to attend forums in their area, though they are there to listen and not participate.

Each forum will have a signup sheet for those who want to speak. Testimony will have a time limit. Each forum is scheduled for two and a half hours.

Here are more ways to get involved and stay informed:

  • Type your comments at the end of this article. We will share them with the task force.
  • Go to the State Board of Education’s website to read the task force’s initial strategies and recommendations, and review questions for the public’s input.
  • Go to Idaho Public Television to watch Web streaming of the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls and Boise forums.
  • Email comments to [email protected].
  • Find complete coverage at Idaho Education News. We’ll have writers covering all the forums.
Jennifer Swindell

Jennifer Swindell

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement every year, reaching over two million pageviews a year. Jennifer has more than 35 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

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