There’s a narrative going around that Idaho ranks at the bottom of virtually every national education measure.
Is that really true? As it turns out, no! There’s plenty of good news about Idaho schools that is largely being ignored.
In fact, over the past several years Idaho taxpayers have invested hundreds of millions of new dollars in Idaho schools as part of an ongoing push to improve and reform our education system. And those investments are paying off.
There’s still a long way to go, but no matter how much the Down-on-Idaho Democrats and other naysayers try to cherry-pick the bad news, the data shows we’re headed in the right direction.
School Funding Increases: Idaho At or Near the Top
You wouldn’t know it from all the negative rhetoric about school funding in Idaho, but thanks to several years straight of significant K-12 increases, Idaho ranks at or near the top nationally for growth in funding:
- Idaho ranks 1st in the nation for year-to-year increases in both teacher pay and school administrator pay.
- Idaho ranks 6th in the nation for year-to-year increases in total K-12 funding.
- Idaho ranks 16th in the nation for percentage of total spending on K-12 schools.
- Idaho ranks 2nd in the nation for highest year-to-year increase in state funding for higher education.
Taxpayer Funding for Schools: Huge Increases
Here’s a brief summary of how much Idaho taxpayers have invested in K-12 public schools. For four straight years, Idahoans have generously added at least $100 million in new funding per year:
- In 2015, public schools received $101.2 million in additional state General Fund spending, a 7.4% increase over the previous year.
- In 2016, there was $108.8 million in additional General Fund spending, a 7.4% increase over the previous year.
- In 2017, $100.6 million in additional General Fund spending, a 6.3% increase.
- In 2018, $100 million in additional General Fund spending, a 5.9% increase.
Progress on Math & Reading Scores
Here are some stats courtesy of the Nation’s Report Card, from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. These numbers reflect student progress from 2015 to 2017 and are based on rankings among the 50 states and the District of Columbia:
- Idaho ranks #7 for 4th grade math score improvements, and #19 for 8th grade.
- Idaho ranks #9 for 4th grade reading score improvements, and #16 for 8th grade.
Idaho Ranks #5 for College-Ready Students!
U.S. News & World Report, partnering with McKinsey research, recently named Idaho fifth-highest in the nation for college-ready students. Congratulations to our students & teachers for their amazing work!