Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho lags in pre-K enrollment, but debate may be picking up…

Idaho’s pre-K enrollment numbers rank among the nation’s lowest, reports Idaho Education News, lagging even in comparison to the handful of other states that have no state-funded preschool. EdNews reporter Kevin Richert writes that a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research found that in Idaho, only 1,569 of the state’s 3-year-olds were enrolled in Head Start, special ed or other publicly funded education programs; that’s 6.8 percent, the lowest percentage in the nation. For 4-year-olds, Idaho hit 12.9 percent, ranking third-lowest, ahead of Utah and Wyoming.

While a pre-K pilot bill gained little traction during this year’s Idaho legislative session, Richert writes that the debate appears to be picking up. Last week, about 400 people attended an early learning conference in Boise sponsored by BSU’s Andrus Center for Public Policy and the University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research. During the conference, state Sen. Steven Thayn, an Emmett Republican who has opposed past pre-K efforts, said, “I think we’ll see something happen this next legislative session.” You can read Richert’s full report here.

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: