Idaho's Ideas: Examples to Think About
In Idaho there is an initiative called Advanced Opportunities, which has as a subcomponent program called Fast Forward.
Within the Advanced Opportunities initiative students are encouraged to meet with their counselor (starting in 7th grade) and to work to develop a six-year plan (from 7th grade to 12th grade) with goals such as dual credit courses, high school courses, advanced placement courses, etc. Students can also reach out to colleges directly as a part of this initiative to discuss other opportunities they may have.
Students then create a Fast Forward account (which must be activated by the school). The Fast Forward account offers every student in Idaho public schools an allotment of $4,125 to go toward goals set forth in their Advanced Opportunities plan.
Students can use the money to pay for overloaded courses (courses above and beyond their course load in a regular school day). Those courses are available online, in the evening or during the summer, etc. The student can also use the funds to pay for dual credit courses (for college and high school credit) and the funds can also be used to pay for advance placement exams, career technical education exams, etc.
In this way a student gets opportunities, while in a public school, to take courses above and beyond their coursework and to gain credit toward college—all from public education funds.
Idaho has also calculated the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) cost for children who attend their schools. It has set aside 35% of the ADA, which is about $1,500, for students who graduate early. So if you are a student who graduates from high school early, you will get $1,500 toward your post-secondary education at Idaho public institutions. If you graduate two years early, you get $3,000 toward your post-secondary education and so on. Students have up to 28 months to use their funds for college—after which their funds will expire.
When you think about all of the discussion around taking public funds and allowing them to be used for private schools, while demanding that public schools fix their problems, it is nice to see a state offer funding for additional opportunities for students who stay in their public schools.
Copyright, Red and Black Ink, LLC, 2017.
Advanced Opportunities. Idaho State Department of Education. Accessed April 2017. https://sde.idaho.gov/student-engagement/advanced-ops/index.html