The State Board of Education unveiled some very interesting statistics during Monday’s presentation to the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee. State Board President Don Soltman told JFAC that Idaho’s virtual charter high schools had a moribund 20% graduation rate in 2013-14. With alternative high schools also struggling at a 36% graduation rate, the overall graduation rate for Idaho dropped to 77%. Traditional high schools remain strong with an 88% graduation rate, and non-virtual charter schools checked in at 91%. Idaho’s graduation rates are currently ranked #41 in the nation, since the state switched to a more nationally accepted method for calculations.
Soltman also told JFAC that Idaho continues to struggle with its efforts to improve the “go on” rate. Despite an emphasis on encouraging students to seek post-secondary education, and the setting of a 60% target, the “go on” rate has dropped in each of the last two years—from 42% in 2012 to 41% in 2013 to 40% in 2014. Streamlining the college application process and making college more affordable are key elements of the state’s plan to turn around the discouraging numbers. You can read more about today’s presentation from Betsy Russell of the Spokesman Review http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/boise/2016/jan/25/state-board-committed-go-goal-despite-discouraging-progress/
The Presidents of Idaho’s higher education institutions also made presentations to JFAC on Monday, with each lauding their school’s successes and requesting that the legislature be generous in allocations to higher education in this session. Colleges and universities will remain in the spotlight on Tuesday, with the schools making presentation to the house and senate education committees.
In other news from the Capitol, the governor submitted a request for an additional $4.4 million for K-12 education funding to cover enrollment growth. The additional funding will fund 47 school support units—roughly 47 new classrooms.