In the Classroom

Ybarra: Drop statewide instructional management system

State Schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra has no use for the statewide instructional management system that was sharply criticized Monday in a report by the state’s Office of Performance Evaluation.

Idaho poured $61 million into developing a technology-based statewide system that was to bring together student assessment, professional development, curriculum and other aspects of education that local districts could access.

But the system was plagued by “poor management, poor decisions and poor system functionality” said Rakesh Mohan, director of the Office of Performance Evaluation. The office evaluates state programs’ efficiency and cost effectiveness.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, which put $21 million into the project, declined to comment.

Idaho’s statewide Schoolnet system, already in place when Ybarra took office in January, runs counter to her belief that districts need to chart their own course to improved education for students, including using their own instructional management system.

Even before the latest criticism against the statewide system, Ybarra said she wanted to dump it.

“That’s the plan,” she told the Idaho Statesman in an interview several days ago.

Instead, she wants to provide resources for districts to operate their own management systems.

“It’s the same concept,” she said. “It’s just not centralized.”

Ybarra’s budget this year reduces money for Schoolnet from $2.5 million to $985,000. That money would go to districts that want to keep Schoolnet as their in-house instructional management system. For the rest of the school districts, Ybarra wants $2.6 million to help them provide a system that meets their own needs.