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.
“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.
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.
The State Department of Education has only released skeletal results from the fall reading test. The full data report is important, because it will allow parents and patrons to see how K-3 students fared in their neighborhood schools.
Idaho students fared well on what is widely known as “the nation’s report card.” But eighth-grade reading scores declined significantly — mirroring a troubling national trend.
Results from this year’s Idaho Reading Indicator were a mixed bag. Several demographic groups gained a bit of ground. For other student groups, chronic “achievement gaps” only grew wider.
State officials are concerned about perceptions — and the inevitable comparisons. They say the new test is significantly different than its predecessor, so it’s impossible to compare the results.