Idaho kindergartners face uphill reading battle

A business-educator group is looking for ways to improve schools.

broberts@idahostatesman.comApril 25, 2013 

A quiet group of Idaho business leaders, educators and nonprofit organizations has been gathering information on Treasure Valley school districts for a baseline look at the region's education system.

On Thursday, the Treasure Valley Education Partnership will share its data, which is expected to lead to discussions on ways the partnership can work with other groups to improve education.

Some of the statistics are concerning:

• 42 percent of students entering kindergarten don't reach the benchmark for learning to read. Those numbers haven't changed between 2007 and 2012, based on the Idaho Reading Indicator test given to students in kindergarten through third grade.

• 58 percent of kindergartners from lower-income families entered school in 2012 without the skills they need to learn to read. Among higher-income families, the number is 31 percent.

There is some brighter news. Sixty-four percent of students in the class of 2010 went on to post-high school education within two years of graduating, up from 57 percent in 2005.

The partnership looked at nine Treasure Valley school districts, including Boise and Meridian, plus Bishop Kelly High School.

Treasure Valley Education Partnership will release its data at a public meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Meridian School District office, 1303 E. Central Drive, Meridian.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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