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Idaho Education Notecard October 13, 2017

This week’s education news:

Testing the test. In 58 schools across Idaho, some 13,000 kindergarten through third-grade students are testing a new reading test. Educators are giving the new assessment high marks, saying it provides more and better data about student reading skills. And as a Texas-based vendor runs the test pilot, it is also looking to expand its business base in Idaho schools. More information HERE.

Ybarra makes it official. As early as 2015, state superintendent Sherri Ybarra began talking about running for a second term. On Wednesday, and to no great surprise, she made her re-election bid official. She has one announced opponent in the 2018 Republican primary, Wilder school Superintendent Jeff Dillon; no Democrat has filed for the race. More information HERE.

The email trail. Ybarra did not know about sexual harassment complaints surrounding Dan Goicoechea, before she hired her longtime political ally to a high-profile State Department of Education job. That’s one takeaway from office emails, obtained by Idaho Education News through a public records request. Ybarra hired Goicoechea after he lost his job in the state controller’s office; he resigned from Ybarra’s staff just before he was named in a tort claim involving his time on Controller Brandon Woolf’s staff. More information HERE.

A calendar compromise. The Boise School Board set an Aug. 20 start date for the 2018-19 school year. The district had considered an Aug. 15 start, but Save Idaho Summers, a group backed by a Treasure Valley water park, launched a social media campaign opposing the move. “We saved at least a weekend, if not an entire summer, and that’s a start,” school board member A.J. Balukoff said. More information HERE.

Staben job search. University of Idaho President Chuck Staben is one of five finalists for the top job at the University of New Mexico. Staben is scheduled to interview on the Albuquerque, N.M., campus next week. Staben has been the U of I’s president since 2014. More information HERE.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger with Idaho Education News ( Idaho Education News is an independent news site focused on education policy and politics, funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Richert has worked in the Idaho news media since 1985, as a reporter, editor and columnist.

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