Dirk Kempthorne on Education

Reading Initiative: 90% of 3rd graders reading by 2004

Only 50 percent of Idaho children are reading at grade level by the third grade. This makes the Reading Initiative critical to Idaho. We know we are making progress because we have defined a benchmark, we’ve taken a measurement, we have outstanding teachers involved, and there’s a synergy out there. We know the mission. We should lay out further goals. We should all agree that one year from now, 60% will be reading at grade level. And the following year, 70%. And by the end of 2004, 90%.
Source: State of the State address to the Idaho legislature Jan 8, 2001

Exit standards for high school via SAT-like exam

In 2005, we must and will have standards in place for our students. I have had high school students ask me: “do you believe that there should be exiting standards?” And I tell the students: “absolutely”.

And I’m going to suggest to you that we no longer use the term “exiting standards” with regard to these students. These are achievement standards. A model that I’m suggesting to the State Board of Education is similar to the SAT format, where a student who does not succeed on the first test will have the opportunity to study further and then take it again.

In fact, you may have three bites at the apple. And there’s no penalty if you take the test again. In fact, maybe you’ve already passed it, but you’d still like to take it again and improve on your scores. But our students are going to know what’s necessary for graduation, and they will have to pass the test to receive their diploma.

Source: State of the State address to the Idaho legislature Jan 8, 2001

Supports charter schools and innovative classrooms

Read the list of the innovative grants we’ve awarded-and look at what the teachers of Idaho can do. They said that with a few dollars, we can do innovative things. And they did it in a classroom where we gave them an additional $500.

I support and I believe in charter schools. In essence, what we have created with this program in schools throughout the state are charter classrooms for $500 each. It worked [because] we encouraged innovation without a guaranteed result and without penalizing failure.

Source: State of the State address to the Idaho legislature Jan 8, 2001

Voted YES on education savings accounts.

This Conference Report approved tax-sheltered education savings accounts.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)36; NV)5
Reference: H.R. 2646 Conference Report; Bill H.R. 2646 ; vote number 1998-169 on Jun 24, 1998

Voted YES on school vouchers in DC.

This legislation would have amended the DC spending measure, imposing an unconstitutional school voucher program on the District.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)58; N)41; NV)1
Reference: DC Appropriations Act; Bill S. 1156 ; vote number 1997-260 on Sep 30, 1997

Voted YES on $75M for abstinence education.

Vote to retain a provision of the Budget Act that funds abstinence education to help reduce teenage pregnancy, using $75 million of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program.
Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-231 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted YES on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer.

Cut off federal funds to school districts that deny students their right to constitutionally protected voluntary prayer.
Bill S.1513 ; vote number 1994-236 on Jul 27, 1994

Voted NO on national education standards.

Approval of national education standards.
Status: Bill Passed Y)71; N)25; NV)4
Reference: Goals 2000: Educate America Act; Bill H.R. 1804 ; vote number 1994-34 on Feb 8, 1994

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