BOISE A Senate panel passed a bill Feb. 6 that would remove the requirement that Idaho seniors take a math class.
Students would still be required to take six semesters of math even if SB 1266 became law.
The State Board of Education has to write a rule change on the senior math requirement. Senate Education Committee Vice Chair Steven Thayn’s bill would only change Idaho code.
Thayn said high schoolers are often not taking math their junior year because the state only requires three years of it. He said this often creates problems down the road.
Nampa School District’s Secondary Math Coordinator, Katie Bösch-Wilson, said she’s seen it first-hand. Last year, 23 percent of Nampa juniors did not take a math class. In that same year, 29 percent of seniors were taking a lower level math class.
“Our students are not advancing all the way through the Idaho content standards, which recommends students getting through an integrated 3 or an algebra two course,” she said. “Of those 29 percent students in that senior math class, 30 percent of those students did not take math their junior year.”
Boise School District’s Math Director, Teri Thaemert, said she also faces the issue in her district.
“Although on the surface it sounds like a really great idea — I personally would love for all of our students to take math for four years — in all reality, not all students are interested in that and not all students want that for what they want in the future,” she said.
SB 1266 moves to the Senate floor. If passed there, it goes before the House and then the governor.
– Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the 2018 Idaho Legislature for the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research.