Idaho education task force approves five recommendations

An Idaho public education panel has approved five recommendations for Governor Brad Little to consider as the 2020 legislative session approaches.

Members of the ‘Our Kids, Idaho’s Future’ education task force narrowed down from 11 to five the recommendations created by subcommittees over the course of several meetings this summer. The five that won approval include focusing statewide accountability efforts on K-3 literacy, and additional statewide funding for greater all-day kindergarten opportunities to support that literacy and future student achievement. The panel also backs expanding and building out the educator career ladder, with base appropriations starting at $40,000, $50,000, and $60,000 at full implementation with consideration of additional performance criteria.

Other recommendations call for addressing social and emotional issues to support student learning, and strategic alignment and increased flexibility in the K-12 funding formula. The task force recommends retaining line-item funding for college and career advisers, Advanced Opportunities, and literacy intervention line-items in the K-12 budget, with the aim of making important updates to improve their effectiveness and accountability.

The panel also supports collapsing some line-items in the public schools budget and providing more financial flexibility for local school districts and charter schools. The recommendations were not approved unanimously, as some lawmakers on the task force voted against recommendations or chose to abstain.

Governor Little will take the recommendations under consideration for possible use in crafting a five-year plan to improve education, specifically when it comes to early literacy and college and career readiness.

The Idaho Legislature convenes in January. (