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Idaho Education Notecard January5, 2018

This week’s education headlines:

Otter to push for “CEO.” Gov. Butch Otter says he will look to create a higher education “CEO” position, and push for the move during the 2018 legislative session. Backers of the move say a chief education officer should be able to find untold millions of dollars of savings in the higher education system — money that could be siphoned into scholarships. Otter announced his support at a State Board of Education meeting Thursday, and promised more details during his State of the State address Monday. More information HERE.

A high-stakes legislative session. Otter’s address opens the 2018 legislative session, and raises the curtain on a pivotal election year. Politics aside, there’s a lot at stake as lawmakers reconvene next week — from taxes to teacher pay raises, from science standards to college scholarships. More information HERE.

A “Goldilocks” economy? A panel of legislators took a deep dive into the state of Idaho’s economy, and what they heard was the stuff of fairy tales: the economy is not too hot, but not too cold. But soon, these lawmakers will have to process these reports and come up with a hard number. They’ll have to predict how much tax revenue Idaho will receive in 2018-19 — a projection that will help dictate how much money lawmakers can spend on education and other state programs. More information HERE.

Another enrollment increase. Idaho’s undergraduate college enrollment passed the 100,000 plateau this fall, a 1.6 percent increase that defied national enrollment trends. But Idaho’s increase is significant for another reason. For years, the state’s political, education and business leaders have struggled to figure out how to get more high school graduates to continue their education. More information HERE.

An ESSA progress report. Idaho’s plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act still needs some work. The feds are asking the state to tweak several pieces of its plan — including its plan to use student surveys to help measure school quality and student success. Idaho’s blueprint to comply with the new education law is important, in part because it represents the state’s application for $83 million a year in federal funding. 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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