Idaho Gov. Little’s K-12 task force issues final report

The recommendations from Idaho Governor Brad Little’s K-12 education panel are now in writing.

The “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” task force recently issued its final report, formally presenting five recommendations that grew from 28 meetings over five months. The 26-member task force endorsed the list in November, though not unanimously, as several Republican legislators abstained from votes, or outright opposed some recommendations.

Among the recommendations for school accountability, the task force wants to use Idaho Reading Indicator scores as a method of grading schools and administrators in an effort to compare schools with similar demographics. The panel also stressed expansion of all-day kindergarten, which is already occurring.

Schools are using the state’s $26 million-a-year literacy program and other funding sources to make the move. The task force also wants to boost teacher salaries by adding a top-end $60,000 rung to the teacher a career ladder. The report also calls for addressing student social and emotional needs by training school staff to identify and help students with trauma or mental health issues, and giving schools more spending flexibility by eliminating some state budget line items.

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. (