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Idaho Leaders Embrace Bold Education Reforms

• ExcelinEd

Idaho State Actions

During the 2015 legislative session, Idaho approved creative policies aimed at increasing performance and raising student achievement, including a new approach to fund promising education programs while minimizing the risk to the state. ExcelinEd commends Governor Butch Otter, Senator Shawn Keough, Senator Bob Nonini and Representative Steve Harris for taking action to improve the education system for all Idaho students.

In March, the Idaho Legislature unanimously passed, and Governor Otter signed, a law to improve mastery-based education in Idaho (HB 110). The new law directs the Department of Education to begin Idaho’s transition to a mastery-based education system. The state is realigning education to better meet the learning abilities of students rather than the schedules of adults. This is another stride towards implementing Governor Otter’s Task Force recommendations, and an important step forward in preparing Idaho students for success in the 21st century. Bill sponsors Senator Keough and Representative Harris made the case that today’s workforce needs students who have mastered the skills that today’s high-demand jobs require. HB 110 begins the shift towards a mastery-based system of learning in Idaho by setting the goal of 20 incubators or pilots by 2017.

To learn more about mastery-based education vs. seat time, read this blog by Karla Phillips, ExcelinEd’s State Policy Director of Competency-Based Learning.

In April, Governor Otter signed the Pay for Success Contracting Program (HB 170) into law, providing a new process to leverage public and private funding to support promising education programs while minimizing the risk to the state. Pay for Success programs employ a performance-based contracting model where a government agency only pays providers if results meet the established deliverables.

Take a look at what other states accomplished in their 2015 legislative sessions. We have also shared session wrap-ups on ArizonaArkansas, FloridaGeorgia, LouisianaMississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Tennessee.

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