COEUR d’ALENE — A group of Idaho businesses is planning to study how the state’s public education system needs to adapt for the state to compete in coming years.
Judy Meyer, who heads up Idaho Business for Education’s efforts in North Idaho, said the study is significant because it will look at the entire state. It will include rural and urban areas, get input from businesses, educators, and parents, and not confine itself to the Boise metro area.
The study will look at the workforce’s current state of preparedness and what challenges currently exist, Meyer said. It will also inquire into how those within, and without, the public education system look at the system.
The intent is to provide specific recommendations for the governor, Legislature, and the private sector. Those recommendations will likely overlap what Gov. Brad Little proposed in his State of the State address on Monday, but will encompass more than that, Meyer said.
Meyer, who has spent many years advocating for public education, including her tenure as a North Idaho College trustee, called public education a key part of the national life. In addition, public schools are instrumental to the success of the private sector, she said.
“Great schools are good business,” she said, quoting the motto of Idaho Business for Education.
Idaho Business for Education President and CEO Rod Gramer said the study “will serve as another tool to help IBE and the State of Idaho reach the vital 60 percent goal.”
Pushing 60 percent of Idaho residents to complete college or earn a professional certificate is one of the organization’s goals, as well as funding early childhood education, increasing teacher salaries, and high standards, according to the organization’s 2018 report.
HP Vice President of Worldwide Education Gus Schmedlen will lead the study. Marcela Escobari, Brookings Institution Center for Universal Education Senior Fellow, will concurrently analyze Idaho’s growth potential, and the needs of its workforce relative to that growth.
Meyer said the study will start this month and should be finished in May. Meetings across the state will offer residents a chance to offer their input. Meyer said she hopes to set up some meetings for Schmedlen and locals in Kootenai County later this winter.
“Their voices will be heard and eagerly sought after,” she said.
For more information: http://www.idahobe.org