Education task force 8-12-19

The leaders of Idaho’s K-12 education task force are proposing a new school accountability system that is narrowly focused on early literacy and bound by local control, writes Idaho EdNews reporter Clark Corbin. Saying it was time to “reset the baseline,” Boise businessman Bill Gilbert spelled out a rough proposal during the group’s meeting Monday morning at Boise State University. Gilbert is the co-chairman of Gov. Brad Little’s education task force, “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future.”

The idea calls for:

  • Using early childhood literacy in grades K-3, as measured by the Idaho Reading Indicator (or IRI) test), as the hallmark of the accountability system.
  • Using growth on the IRI as a singular data point to explain and present to the community for accountability purposes. Gilbert said the growth data needs to account for a school’s demographics, such as poverty and English language learners, and must be compared in context alongside other similar cohort groups.
  • Training for all school board trustees on the IRI, data, growth and how to help community members make sense of what the data mean.
  • School boards holding superintendents accountable for growth on IRI scores, as compared against an appropriate cohort group.

“Ultimately accountability for student performance lies in those communities where those students live,” Gilbert said. “Our local communities and local school boards are the ones driving and responsible for accountability for how schools perform.”

You can read Corbin's full report here at

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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