Obstacles and Options

After eight years, Idaho has made only limited progress toward an ambitious goal to convince high school graduates to continue their education. What will it take to change the trends — and change the lives of young Idahoans? Idaho Education News reporter Kevin Richert spent five months talking to students, teachers and policymakers about the state’s “60 percent” goal, and the demographic realities that stand in the way.

Hitting the ’60 percent goal’ won’t just take work. It requires a transformation.

Idaho's most ambitious and most talked-about educational goal runs headway into hard realities. Rooted in economics. Rooted in geography. And rooted in culture.

Weiser students look at going on — and probably moving out

Idaho’s geography — and miles of hilly, serpentine two-lane highway — separates Weiser from a college campus. A social divide also stands in the way — harder to see, and possibly harder to cross.

Will the state’s big investment bridge Idaho’s demographic gaps?

Since 2013-14, Idaho has spent at least $133.4 million on programs designed to help convince high school graduates to continue their education.

‘We were so overwhelmed:’ the confusing, daunting prospect of paying for college

In Idaho, it is impossible to confront the issues of college enrollment, and college completion, without staring straight into the eye of college affordability.

Career-technical education emerges as a pathway to the workplace, or college

In rural communities, career-technical education is often seen as a complement, or a counterweight, to the push to college. But schools often struggle to find qualified CTE teachers, or provide a full slate of course offerings.

‘It can’t just be education. It can’t just be industry.’ A partnership template

Mini-Cassia students can work under a unique apprenticeship program that promises high school credits, summer work — and a permanent job after graduation. Partners say the formula could work for other communities and industries.

Idaho seeks to change minds — and mindsets — about the value of education

Idaho's "60 percent goal" defines a target, while trivializing the challenge. In trying to convince high school graduates to stay in school, Idaho is seeking to create new family histories and establish new community beliefs.

‘We need to look systemically:’ bridging Native American student achievement gaps

Native American students lag behind their classmates on many education metrics — but there are glimmers of hope.