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School changes coming

Makaylynn Toth, right, makes minute adjustments Wednesday to the obstacles for competition between Lego League teams at Linwood Elementary.

Education is changing rapidly across the nation, and Washington and Idaho are no exception. State standards have become more rigorous, funding issues persist and technology is changing classrooms.

Here are 10 things to watch for in 2015:

1. New state tests for K-12 students in Washington and Idaho. Adopting a new set of state standards based on a nationalized curriculum – Common Core – means new state tests to check students’ learning levels. Full story. Jody Lawrence Turner, SR

Other changes include, more hand held computers for students, more armed resource officers, 2 new charter schools in Spokane, a new elementary in CdA, school remodels, robotics programs etc.

Do you view these changes as positive, negative or a mix of both?

Court asked not to sanction Lege over school funding

OLYMPIA – The Supreme Court should not go down a “slippery slope” and punish the Legislature because it didn’t come up with a complete plan earlier this year to improve public schools, the state attorney general’s office said.

Although the public education is the state’s “paramount” duty, it is not the only duty, and the Legislature still has to pay for programs for public health, safety and welfare, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and a group of senior assistants said this week in their last written argument before all sides in the case appear before the state’s highest court next Wednesday. . .

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Lege panel to court: We’re spending $982 million more on schools

Although the Legislature needed two special sessions to agree to a budget, in large part because of disagreements over how much to spend on public schools, a special legislative committee needed only about six minutes Tuesday to tell the state Supreme Court that budget is meeting a mandate to adequately fund education.

With only three members in the room and the remainder connected by telephone, the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation unanimously approved a report that listed four major increases in state money going to school districts over the next two years.

  • $374 million extra for materials, supplies and operating costs
  • $131.7 million extra for transportation costs
  • $103.6 million extra for smaller kindergarten and Grade 1 classes in high poverty schools
  • $90 million extra for all-day kindergarten.

It's part of a total increase of $982 million to be spent on public schools in the 2013-15 biennium. . .

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Barbieri Calls Public Schools ‘Godless’

Rep. Vito Barbieri is defending a statement posted on his re-election campaign website in which he called on Christians to pull their children out of Idaho’s “Godless” public schools. In a debate on TV Channel 19 between Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, and his Democratic challenger Cheryl Stransky, also from Dalton Gardens, Barbieri was asked about this statement posted on his website regarding public schools: “One more thing: If you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and God, then pull your kids out of that Godless institution.” Barbieri told questioners from the Coeur Group that he stands by the statement. “My words exactly,” he said/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with Rep. Barbieri's description of public schools as "Godless"?

McKenna: Limit other spending to boost education

Washington could spend more money on its public schools and colleges by limiting the growth in other state expenses and changing the way some property taxes are collected, a gubernatorial candidate said Tuesday.

Republican hopeful Rob McKenna released new details of his plans to increase spending on education, with an extra $1.25 billion for public schools and $437 million for colleges in the first two years of his tenure.

After McKenna discussed the details in a pair of one-hour meetings with reporters, a spokeswoman for Jay Inslee, his chief Democratic rival, called it "empty promises." The plan won't generate the revenue he expects, Jaime Smith said in a press release.

The state is under a Supreme Court mandate . . .

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Idaho Schools To Get Hotel Ratings?

Idaho’s public schools will be rated much like hotels and passenger vehicles if a plan to exempt the state from federal No Child Left Behind benchmarks is approved. The Idaho State Department of Education released Tuesday a draft plan to evaluate schools on a five-star basis, and tie new pay incentives for employees to each school’s rating. The new plan is one requirement of the state’s application for a waiver of NCLB requirements, due to the federal government by Feb. 21. Why Five Stars? State education officials say the five-star system is easily understandable and used across multiple venues to provide product and service ratings/Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question: Should Idaho schools be rated like hotels?

Tea Partier: Pull Kids From Public Schools

Tea Party members, Rick Layton of Spokane has some advice for you. Remove your children from the public schools. Keeping them there, Layton told Saturday’s Lewis-Clark Tea Party Patriots rally at Clarkston, gives the government implied consent to indoctrinate them.What does Layton consider indoctrination? America is a country without a national religion. There is no American ethnic group or race. Some families have been here for centuries. Others are immigrants. What they share is a creed — a shared core of values and ideals. And since the earliest days of the republic, public schools have been the guardians of that creed, assimilating generations into the unique culture they’re about to inherit. Such as the ideal of democracy. The majority rules. Such as its limitations. Majorities can not tyrannize the minority. When a child learns that in class, is he being indoctrinated/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you worry that your children are learning things at public school that are at odds with your family’s values?