Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 15° Clear

Eye On Boise

Panel hears education reform plan

Rep. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, speaks to the House Education Committee promoting HB 493, a proposal for a pilot program on incentives for students who move through school more quickly, including scholarships for those who graduate at least a year early. His co-sponsor, Rep. Branden Durst, D-Boise, is seated next to him. The bipartisan pair said their plan is designed to improve education while saving the state money. (Betsy Russell)
Rep. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, speaks to the House Education Committee promoting HB 493, a proposal for a pilot program on incentives for students who move through school more quickly, including scholarships for those who graduate at least a year early. His co-sponsor, Rep. Branden Durst, D-Boise, is seated next to him. The bipartisan pair said their plan is designed to improve education while saving the state money. (Betsy Russell)

Reps. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, and Branden Durst, D-Boise, are presenting HB 493 this morning, their bill that's up for a full hearing to create a "mastery" program that would, among other things, provide scholarships for students who graduate from high school early, along with other incentives for students to progress more quickly. The idea is to rethink the whole way students move through the educational system, the two told the House Education Committee, with an eye to making the experience better for students and also saving the state money. The bill proposes a pilot project to try the concept out.

"My sons as well as quite a few other students could be doing community college work when they're 16 and 17 years old," Thayn told the committee. "So the idea of allowing challenge or competency exams starting in elementary school came to mind, so we could allow students to move through quicker." Durst called the plan "a big idea in education policy in the state of Idaho." Thayn said if the plan worked, by eight or 10 years down the road, "We could save $80 or $100 million dollars while still improving the quality of education."



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

Follow Betsy online: