With implementing a system of public education that

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with implementing a system of public education that will effectively serve as an instrument of both economic development and long-term employment stability our history does offer a potential way forward.
What needs to change? Figure 7. Children in an Idaho School (Getty Images) Dating back to the early “subscription schools”, Idaho did have an educational system that more directly addressed the needs of the children and families these schools served. Despite the obvious problems of poor teacher-qualifications, sometime substandard curricula, and almost always substandard facilities, the chief benefit these smaller schools (and their smaller school districts) provided was their intimate connection to their service population. During the modern-day rush to consolidate school districts in the name of efficiency, came the call to consolidate the schools themselves (usually under the same banner of efficiency). Yet, current research indicates that the ideal school enrollment size, both from the perspective of student achievement and cost efficiency, is significantly smaller than the sizes most school districts have adopted. (DeAngelis, Heinbuch, McMillen, Nathan) Currently, Idaho has adopted a set of recommended standards identical to the recommendations put forward by the Council of Educational Facility Planners (CEFPI) (standards that haven’t changed since 1963). These recommended sizes are as follows:
Elementary School: Minimum Acreage: 5 acres Additional Acreage: 1 additional acre for each 100 students Junior High School: Minimum Acreage: 10 acres for up to 300 students, 15 acres for up to 400 students, Additional Acreage: 20 acres plus 1 additional acre for each 100 students above 500. Senior High School: Minimum Acreage: 20 acres for up to 400 students, 25 acres for up to 800 students Additional Acreage: 30 acres plus 1 acre per 100 students over 800. Yet these recommended campus sizes (along with their implied enrollments) deviate considerably from the “little red school house” so warmly remembered by those of earlier generations. Based on an exhaustive survey of the available research the North Carolina Public School System launched into a more detailed analysis of student achievement, and facility operational costs beginning in 1999. Its findings are listed below. While there is some deviation between the “ideal” enrollment size to achieve a positive climate (defined as a combination of a student’s educational achievement, social integration, and safety) and the enrollment sizes for economic efficiency (defined as the per student cost of operating the school facility), there is considerable alignment with the notion that smaller schools simply perform better. Local (local) Control While the Idaho Education Code obligates school districts (and the state superintendent) to adopt standards for seventeen quantitative and qualitative criteria for public schools (including standards for specially chartered districts); which encompass facility standards and subject all districts to an annual compliance evaluation to-date these scoring criteria have not varied from the overly-large CEFPI recommendations. (see Idaho Code, Title 33, Chapter 45: School Accountability Report Cards).

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