News that Affects Idaho’s Children and their Future Article

News that Affects Idaho’s Children and their Future

Idaho Ed News focuses solely on education news and data, free and accessible to all.

Every weekday, from the cold, icy mornings of early January to the warm, sunny afternoons of spring, reporters from the Idaho Ed News trek from their office in downtown Boise to the Idaho statehouse to attend a seemingly endless schedule of hearings, debates, and votes on the myriad of education bills being presented in the Idaho 2022 legislative session. “We attend every state meeting,” confirms Managing Editor Jennifer Swindell.

“We are there so you don’t have to be…and no one drills down as hard as we do on public education news.”

Jennifer Swindell, Managing Editor of Idaho Ed News

Swindell, a veteran education reporter and editor, founded Idaho Ed News in 2012 with a mission:

 “To produce independent, comprehensive and thoughtful journalism about public education policy and practice in Idaho. Idaho Ed News is a public awareness service where parents, patrons, educators and lawmakers can find the most useful information on issues that affect Idaho’s children and their future.” 

Managing Editor, Jennifer Swindell, interviewing at the Idaho State Capitol Building

A decade later, with Idaho public education spending increasing while student scores remain stagnant, this vision is more important than ever, and Ed News continues to expand and evolve to meet the needs of its growing readership.

In 2012, Swindell was the publication’s only employee but through a partnership with the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, Idaho Ed News became the first and still only independent Idaho-based education news source. Their news can also be accessed through a variety of media including their newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, and podcast. 

During the uncertainty of the pandemic in 2020, Idaho Ed News saw its readership double. Erin Fahnstrom, a parent and secondary teacher with the West Ada School District in 2020, recalls depending on Ed News to keep informed about the rapidly changing quarantine situation at both her child’s school and at her own job. “Often, Ed News would have updates about what was happening with the school districts prior to us receiving the official emails. Correspondingly, Swindell emphasizes, “(Parents and Educators) returned in 2021 because we built trust, consistency and respect.”

Through their dedication and excellence, Idaho Ed News has not only earned the respect of parents and educators but also of administrators and decision-makers. 

Nicole Scheppers first heard a buzz about the publication several years ago while serving as the principal at Centennial High School. Now, as the Community Liaison Coordinator for the West Ada School District, she remains a frequent reader stating, “Idaho Ed News is one piece of the puzzle in making an informed decision as an educator and administrator.  Idaho Ed News provides objective, up-to-date information to refer to in the decision-making process.” 

According to Idaho Ed News, 2022 will be an even more critical year for decisions impacting the future of Idaho education. Not only are there a wide spectrum of education-related bills up for vote in the legislature, but this election year all seven state-wide Department of Education offices are up for grabs, in addition to all 105 seats in the Idaho Legislature. There are also elections for levies, bonds and many vacant school board seats at the district level.

2022 will be an even more critical year for decisions impacting the future of Idaho education

While Idaho Ed News is not prescriptive, refraining from offering solutions to Idaho’s education woes, and prides itself on providing unbiased reporting, it is unwaveringly committed to the truth and to accountability for the taxpayer dollars that go toward education. “60 percent of tax dollars in Idaho go toward public education,” reports Swindell, “and in many small towns, schools are also the largest employer.” 

With such a tremendous influence over the future of Idaho’s communities, families, and children the stakes for education couldn’t be higher. According to Swindell, “Information is even more important than it ever was.” She continues, “We at Education News need to make information available for all (Idahoans). In that pursuit, the publication remains available at no cost to the reader. “We are a public awareness service,” states Swindell, “Empowering (decision-makers) with knowledge.”

Idaho Ed News Team

In the future, Ed News plans to continue providing the same high-quality, comprehensive reporting on education in Idaho, while expanding the accessibility of their reporting. They are renewing their promise to hold educators and state government officials accountable for tax dollars and for data-driven results in improved student achievement. Additionally, they want to continue to inspire parents, educators, and leaders to make their voices heard and to take action to improve education in Idaho. “We’ve learned as a society that children learn at different paces and in different ways,” Swindell explains. “There’s no one solution for education.”  Her hope is that Idaho Ed News is effecting positive change.

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