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Category: politics

What would happen in your household if your child came home with a report card filled with a few Cs, quite a few Ds and some Fs?

Loving your child, recognizing their effort and supporting their needs does not supersede an understandable disappointment with this outcome. If the Ds and Fs keep coming, finding out why would become the top priority. You would ask the tough questions, examine the alternatives and help find solutions alongside those involved in your child’s education.

That is the situation our state finds itself in. Bringing home statewide educational report cards year after year that continue to show below average — or failing — marks against achievable goals. Just as we would feel concern for our own child’s future, so should we feel for all of the children in this state.

According to Idaho’s own report card, we are failing our children.

In late November of 2019, Idaho Education News issued its first [Y]Our Idaho Education Report Card detailing progress on Idaho’s education goals. It landed in the mailboxes of every parent of a K-12 child in this state and in the hands of those Idaho leaders tasked with setting the goals, vision, and direction of our education system.

The data shows our Idaho education system is regressing. From Math to English, Reading Proficiency to Engagement and High School Graduation Rate to Degree Attainment we are getting poor grades across six academic measures set by Idaho educational professionals and political leaders. Even more disappointing is the fact that these below average grades are for goals that can be attained — and have been by numerous other states. We’re not meeting these modest standards we have set for our children. Further lowering these goals is not the answer.  

We know our educators are dedicated to improving our education system. We know our leaders care about this issue. This is not finger-pointing, these are facts and we cannot hide from reality. Everyone must recognize the challenges we face and the courage it takes to make meaningful changes that ensure our students are prepared for a future where their skills will determine their opportunities.

So, what can Idaho parents do?

Review the [Y]Our Idaho Education Report Card to learn where these six academic measures came from and how our state measures up. Check on how your child is performing against these goals. Discuss your findings with teachers and school administration.

And if you are disappointed with the results of the Idaho Education Report Card, start asking the tough questions to those in state leadership, entrusted to set the goals and vision for our children’s education.

We need to understand where we are today, so we can take actions that move Idaho forward. The report card provides a clear picture of where we need to improve. Unless we are willing to adjust our approach to improve student outcomes and provide better support of, and accountability from, our educators and leaders, Idaho’s education system is at risk of falling further behind.

Visit https://reportcard.idahoednews.org to learn more about the Idaho Education Report Card.

Roger Quarles is Executive Director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.