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Tuesday, February 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

State Board of Ed votes unanimously to stick with plan to develop new statewide reading assessment

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.

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.

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