Idaho has a problem, and it may not be unique to Idaho.
One of the most powerful families in the state is the Albertson family, which runs the Albertson Foundation.
It seems that one of the family heirs has made millions of dollars by investing in the online charter company K12, and now the Albertson Foundation thinks the whole state should get behind the for-profit corporation and put their kids online. Follow the money.
The foundation has been running “public service ads” with the slogan “Don’t Fail, Idaho,” insisting that the kids in Idaho are doing horribly on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the federal tests. What’s the cure? One guess.
The ads claim that 60% of children in Idaho are “not proficient” on the NAEP tests, but they don’t explain that “proficient” on NAEP is a very high level of performance, what I consider a very strong A or B. The NAEP state coordinator from 2002-2012 tried to explain what the NAEP labels mean, but he probably did not persuade the Albertson Foundation.
Here are the facts:
In fourth grade reading: 31% of children in Idaho are below basic, just below the national average of 34%.
In eigth grade reading, 19% are below basic, well below the national average of 25%.
In fourth grade math, 17% are below basic, about the same as the national average.
In eighth grade math, 23% of the kids are below basic, well below the national average of 28%.
Idaho is not failing.
What would really fail Idaho would be to put large numbers of students into K12 virtual academies, which have high attrition rates, low test scores, and low graduation rates.
Idaho, don’t fall for a bill of goods.