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Perspectives on Idaho education – Idaho Press-Tribune


Make Idaho Better is on a roll. Since launching in June 2018, the nonpartisan, crowd-sourced, research platform has collected, analyzed, and published thousands of Idaho perspectives on dozens of state and local issues. With the help of our respondents, we’ve added valuable information to public discussions on a wide variety of topics.

But, while reflecting recently, it occurred to me that such a wide variety of issues doesn’t appeal to everyone all the time. Building on that realization, I had the idea that perhaps it’s time to specialize. In addition to Make Idaho Better’s eclectic approach, perhaps there should be options to focus on particular subject areas.

After considering the public profile of different subjects, existing gaps in public information and understanding, and my personal interests, I decided to consider honing in on Idaho Education.

Over the following weeks, I’ve met with reporters, bloggers, administrators, and nonprofits, and all have reacted with keen interest and excitement at this idea. Cool — I’d passed the sanity check step.

Next up, it was time to test my assumptions with numbers, as I believe all Idaho leaders should do when considering investments involving any degree of risk. I drafted a survey, and after gathering feedback and suggestions from several parties, it went live.

Over the following days, 505 Idahoans responded and shared what they think about local versus state education quality, “going on,” and how they consume education-related information, among other things. And, by publishing the results and my detailed analysis, I was thrilled to add something novel to these important discussions.

Below are the findings that stood out to me the most.

Respondents perceive the quality of their local schools as better than the quality of the state system of education. This was surprising, and kind of feels like the fact that most people think they’re above average. Definitely not “grass is greener on the other side” thinking.

Respondents agree that most kids should continue their education after high school. However, there seems to be some confusion about what Idaho’s “go on” campaigns entail — even if kids should continue learning, perhaps college isn’t the right fit for most.

Respondents think understanding parent perspectives on their kids’ education is very valuable.

Assumption validated — I now believe a project to help Idahoans make their voices heard and make a difference on Idaho Education has legs. Administrators have already started taking notice and considering how they can use this new capability to help them find and implement better solutions.

If this is exciting to you, consider subscribing at[1] for a chance to contribute on a broad range of Idaho issues. And now, with[2], you can weigh in on Idaho Education topics in particular.

Together, we can contribute to making Idaho better informed, more understanding, and help our leaders help us. Let’s do it!


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