The Idaho state Board of Education, in a special meeting this afternoon, voted unanimously to oppose HB 693, a measure introduced yesterday by House Education Chair Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree, which calls for Idaho school districts to select their own reading assessment next year, rather than have the state continue with an existing contract to develop a new statewide early reading assessment to replace the 20-year-old Idaho Reading Indicator. “The Board strongly supports a single statewide kindergarten-third grade reading assessment administered and funded by the state,” the board said in a news release after this afternoon's meeting, adding that the board “will oppose any legislation which would remove the requirement for a single statewide K-3 reading assessment or eliminate state funding for the assessment. The Board reaffirms its support for transitioning from a pilot to a field test of the new reading assessment in year two.”
That’s the plan state Superintendent of Schools Sherri Ybarra has been pursuing; after an RFP was issued, she signed a contract for the new assessment with Dallas-based Istation. The new computerized assessment is currently being tested in a pilot project at 58 Idaho school districts.
Lawmakers, however, have balked at the plan this year; the public school budget set by JFAC didn’t include any funding for continuing the contract, instead funding only the existing IRI.