State lawmakers, education leaders discuss school accountability plan

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-28 18:55:47-04

It's a rare sight in the legislative off-season, but state lawmakers met at the statehouse Tuesday, June 27, for a little summer school. 

Both the Senate and House Education Committees were brought up to speed on the state's draft school accountability plan. 

"There's a lot of information, there's a lot of detail, there's numbers and of course, those are all very, very important for our committee members; and I think the discussion has been vigorous, vibrant and very educational," said Sen. Dean Mortimer (R-Idaho Falls) and Senate Education Committee Chairman. 

Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all states -- including Idaho -- must submit their plans in September.

Committee members say, as it currently stands, the draft plan is too ambitious -- as it aims to drastically improve reading and math proficiency percentages by 2022. 

State education leaders say they'll take the suggestions from lawmakers and tweak the plan before submitting it this fall. 

"We have the opportunity to tweak it as we need to, which is not something we've had the opportunity to do in the past," said Sherri Ybarra, Superintendent of Public Instruction. "And we've done a lot of listening tours, we've gotten a lot of stakeholder feedback and input, which is great. We've been able to do things the 'Idaho way,' for the first time in a very long time."

Idaho has until September 18 to submit its plans. Afterward, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will decide whether to accept or reject them.