Idaho Education Notecard for June 9

This week’s education news:

The new, big number: 40,000. Gov. Butch Otter’s higher education task force has all but given up on a ballyhooed goal: getting 60 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds to hold a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020. On Friday, the task force looked at this goal in new and sobering terms. In order to hit the 60 percent goal, at any point in the future, Idaho will need to boost postsecondary enrollment by a staggering 40,000 students. Find more information HERE.

Tough times in timber country. The federal Secure Rural Schools program is designed to provide a funding boost for schools in timber country. The program has proven to be anything but secure, and it doesn’t appear in President Trump’s budget request. That might force school administrators and local taxpayers to make some tough decisions. Find more information HERE.

‘My efforts on education are going to continue.’ Speaking to business leaders in Boise Wednesday, Gov. Butch Otter said education will remain his top priority as he wraps up his time in office. “My highest priority is, and will continue to be, building a more educated and skilled workforce.” But Otter also signaled support for lowering corporate and personal income tax rates. Find more information HERE

‘STEM jobs are for everyone …’ On Thursday, 80 fourth- through sixth-grade girls received some hands-on learning in architecture, robotics and a host of other fields. The Girls Powered STEM Camp is designed to encourage girls to consider careers in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math. Said Lilly Flock, a sixth grader at Shadow Hills Elementary School: “People need to know that STEM jobs are for everyone, not just boys.” Find more information HERE.  

Pre-K in Idaho: glimmers of hope? The storyline, by now, is familiar: Idaho gets called out for refusing to fund pre-kindergarten programs. However, a new national study highlighted a few encouraging signs. A new contract law could encourage a Boise nonprofit to invest in early education, while the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is bankrolling a three-year grant to try to build public support for pre-K. Find more information HERE

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger with Idaho Education News ( Idaho Education News is an independent news site focused on education policy and politics, funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Richert has worked in the Idaho news media since 1985, as a reporter, editor and columnist.

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