The last four years have been tumultuous for public schools:
--The "Luna Laws" (Students come first) caused massive uproar, anger, and debate, and a voter repeal of those legislative actions. Fortunately, a more collaborative approach followed, and there is now a shared vision for public schools developed by a broad coalition of parents, teachers, administrators and local school board members.
--Funding has not followed the vision. We are now last in the nation on per student funding for K-12. Even though there was a small increase in the 2015 budget as compared to 2014, when one considers the increase in students in Idaho we are almost $150 Million behind where we were in 2008.
--Common core standards were adopted by Idaho educators (and endorsed by the legislature) 4 years ago as a tool to assure that students were learning what they should. I think having standards is important, and the Common Core standards were developed by educators. Standards are appropriate, but measurements of performance must be appropriate as well.
--The low rate of Idaho students that "go on" to higher education after high school--both baccalaureate and technical classes--needs improvement. Accelerating tuition costs has hurt--families in a low income state cannot afford tuition increases of 6-10% year after year when incomes remain flat. We have few scholarship dollars for those needing help and that should change if we wish our kids to have the opportunity for a 21st century future.