This week’s education (and political) news:
The DACA divide. About 3,100 Idahoans have sought protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects undocumented immigrants from deportation. The Trump administration’s plan to phase out DACA drew praise from several Idaho Republican officials. But state Superintendent Sherri Ybarra said the phase-out will leave hundreds of Idaho students guessing about their futures. More information HERE.
One more broadband settlement. The state of Idaho cut one more check this week, in a settlement that could close the books on the Idaho Education Network contract debacle. This $3.5 million goes to the Federal Communications Commission and resolves a dispute over telephone surcharge dollars the feds sent to the state and school districts. Counting settlements, legal fees and project bailouts, the legal battle over the school broadband project cost taxpayers about $21.8 million. More information HERE.
Help after Harvey. Principals in Blaine County and West Ada schools have joined a grassroots effort to help schools and students in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. For Brad Henson at Hailey’s Alturas Elementary School, help might mean collecting gift cards and school supplies for his “adopted” Texas grade school. “We stand ready to support them,” Henson said. More information HERE.
Staying the course. Ybarra has released her K-12 budget request for 2018-19. The proposed $113.6 million increase includes $46.6 million to boost teacher pay and more money for high school students who want to take college-level classes. But it’s a stay-the-course request with no new initiatives, and initial reactions are mixed. More information HERE.
‘We have an obligation to explain how important education is today.” Lt. Gov. Brad Little still believes in the “60 percent goal:” the idea that 60 percent of the state’s 25- to 34-year-olds should hold a postsecondary degree. But the Republican gubernatorial candidate says it might take a new mindset to turn this goal into reality. In an interview this week, Little also floated a plan to pay for early education programs and said the state might need to come up with more money for its most experienced teachers. More information HERE.
Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger with Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org.) 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.