Blake Jones

Blake Jones

Reporter Blake Jones covers the politics and the policy of Idaho's K-12 public school system for Idaho Education News. He's a lifelong Idahoan and holds degrees in creative writing and political economy from the College of Idaho. Follow Blake on Twitter @jonesblakej. He can be reached by email at [email protected]

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction debate

Superintendent candidates verbally dueled for GOP nomination

By: - April 26, 2022

State superintendent candidates Debbie Critchfield, Branden Durst and Sherri Ybarra verbally dueled for the Republican nomination Monday night, energetically clashing on school policy and trading one-liners in an hour-long debate broadcast across the state. The three GOP primary contenders put their campaign messaging on full display during Idaho Public Television’s Idaho Debates. Ybarra flexed her […]

Idaho Gov. Brad Little

Gov. Little vetoes bill that would continue funding Idaho schools based on enrollment

By: - March 30, 2022

Originally posted on on March 30, 2022 Gov. Brad Little Wednesday vetoed a bill to continue funding Idaho schools based on student enrollment numbers through 2023-24. While the state’s default is to divide up K-12 funding based on average daily attendance, the State Board of Education — comprised mostly of Little appointees — has […]

House Education Committee narrowly kills private school tuition bill 

By: - March 1, 2022

Originally posted on on March 1, 2022 The House Education Committee Tuesday killed a bill to allow families to spend state funds on private school tuition and fees. The 8-7 vote to hold the bill headed off a motion to send House Bill 669’s “Hope and Opportunity Scholarship Program” to the House floor. The […]

Sen. Lori Den Hartog

Statehouse roundup, 2.3.22: School employee health insurance boost heads to governor

By: - February 3, 2022

Originally posted on on February 3, 2022 The Idaho Senate has all but inked a bill moving toward providing K-12 school employees better health insurance at lower premiums. The Senate on Thursday easily passed House Bill 443 — which would create a fund to help districts and charters cover either the upfront costs of […]

Profane exchange between Republicans follows rejection of parental rights bill

By: and - January 19, 2022

Originally posted on on January 19, 2022 Senate Republican leadership met Wednesday morning to discuss a pair of profane Statehouse exchanges Tuesday afternoon, involving GOP state superintendent’s candidate Branden Durst and GOP state Sen. Jim Woodward. The exchange came moments after the Senate Education Committee rejected a parental rights bill proposed by Durst and […]

Ybarra makes her budget pitch — and discusses pandemic learning loss

By: and - January 17, 2022

Originally posted on on January 17, 2022 Idaho’s schools will be trying to recover from pandemic-related learning loss for years, state superintendent Sherri Ybarra said Monday, and the early data is mixed. “The impacts of the pandemic were less severe than we thought they might be, but we did see some declines in some […]

Sherri Ybarra

Ybarra sharply rebukes ‘political posturing’ around social-emotional learning

By: - October 21, 2021

Originally posted on on October 21, 2021 State superintendent Sherri Ybarra pushed back hard against political outcry surrounding “social-emotional learning” Thursday morning, declaring that “education is under attack” by “those who have co-opted the term.” Her comments, delivered during an address at a virtual symposium on school safety, came as Ybarra’s office distances itself […]

Boise schools were sole ‘target’ of lawmaker’s indoctrination search

By: - June 16, 2021

Originally posted on on June 16, 2021 As of Monday, Rep. Priscilla Giddings’ $100,000-plus public records request for Boise school curriculum was the only one she made in her search for public school indoctrination throughout Idaho, an EdNews records request showed. Co-chair to Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin on the “Task Force to Examine Indoctrination […]

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin presides over the Idaho Senate.

McGeachin announces indoctrination task force members

By: - May 21, 2021

Originally posted on on May 20, 2021 Janice McGeachin and her husband, Jim, stand on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol as she announced her run for Governor in Boise on May 19, 2021. Sami Edge/Idaho Education News A day after announcing she will run for governor in 2022, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin […]

The Senate in session at the Idaho Capitol on April 6, 2021.

Senate passes key education budgets, including higher education

By: and - May 4, 2021

Originally posted on on May 4, 2021 On the 114th day of the 2021 legislative session, the education budget debates effectively came to a conclusion. On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate approved the biggest education budgets on their docket — a K-12 teacher salaries bill and a reduced higher education budget. Both of these bills […]

House passes higher ed, teacher salaries budgets

By: and - May 3, 2021

House passes higher ed, teacher salaries budgets Originally posted on on May 3, 2021 Over the course of Monday afternoon, the House finally broke a logjam on several key education budgets — including the contentious higher education budget. The House approved the higher ed budget on a 49-20 vote. The higher ed budget still […]

House sinks higher education budget, renewing ‘social justice’ debate

By: - April 7, 2021

House sinks higher education budget, renewing ‘social justice’ debate Originally posted on on April 7, 2021 Rep. Paul Amador, R-Coeur d’Alene, opened Wednesday’s higher education debate with an unusual request: He asked lawmakers to kill the budget and start the process over. The budgets of Idaho’s higher education institutions remain in limbo after the […]