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Eye On Boise

Education ‘mastery’ bill passes House, 61-7

The Idaho House convenes on Monday with a gallery full of visiting schoolchildren. (Betsy Russell)
The Idaho House convenes on Monday with a gallery full of visiting schoolchildren. (Betsy Russell)

The House has voted 61-7 in favor of HB 493, legislation from Reps. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, and Branden Durst, D-Boise, to set up a pilot project in which school students could challenge classes by passing end-of-course tests, and those who graduate a year or more early as a result would be eligible for special scholarships. "What this does is it incentivizes learning," Thayn told the House. "It's not going to require any extra funds, because the state spends about $4,500 a year per student, and these funds would simply come from that money that we would have allocated." Some lawmakers who are retired teachers raised concerns about the move. Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, said his experience is that an end-of-course exam isn't that thorough. "There are things it doesn't measure," he said. Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, said, "I think we are encouraging too much of a surface understanding rather than an in-depth understanding."

Backers, though, said the bill would encourage more Idaho students to go to college, an area in which Idaho has lagged far behind most states. "Those are the innovators, those are the leaders of our state and we need to encourage them to continue to move through the system," Durst said. The bill now moves to the Senate.



Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.