The state of Montana education

During an in-person meeting last week, officials from every level of Montana’s education system discussed shared goals and challenges for students and educators in the state. Though most were optimistic about the trajectory of Montana schools, one member of the Board of Regents raised a concern about high school graduates opting not to continue their…

Latest education Reporting

Supply chain woes land on school lunch trays

School food programs across Montana are struggling to acquire even basic ingredients as the nation’s supply chains tangle. Added to the mix are ongoing recruitment and retention issues in urban and rural lunchrooms.

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Public school enrollment shows fall uptick

Public school enrollment dropped 2.4% in Montana during the pandemic. Now, preliminary data from the Office of Public Instruction indicates that the number of K-12 students in the state not only rebounded this fall but is slightly higher than pre-COVID levels.

Grow Your Own Teacher programs lift off

This spring, the Legislature approved a new Grow Your Own Teacher grant program to help rural schools struggling with teacher recruitment and retention. Now, three recipients are prepping to pave a pathway for high school students to enter Montana classrooms.

How Montana schools want to spend their COVID cash

This week marked the submission deadline for public school districts’ plans for spending hundreds of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funds. The contents provide a glimpse at how Montana schools are hoping to address the pandemic’s long-term impacts.

Making the case for public pre-K

Another legislative defeat this spring left Montana with the dubious title of a “preschool desert.” Yet advocates of early childhood education continue to argue the case for a state-funded public preschool model using data gleaned from recent pilot programs.

Recommending new rules for schools

The Office of Public Instruction has convened two task forces to review the regulations governing teacher preparation and licensing. It’s a routine process, but with many Montana schools struggling to fill teaching positions, it could have a major impact on K-12 education in the state.

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MORE EDUCATION REPORTING

ACLU sues OPI, alleging Indian education shortcomings

The ACLU of Montana filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Montana Office of Public Instruction on behalf of tribes, parents and students. The challenge alleges that state education officials have failed to live up to their constitutional Indian education mandate.

Regents approve doubled cost of UM dorm remodel

The cost of steel, plastics and other construction materials has skyrocketed nationwide. For the University of Montana, that meant asking the Board of Regents to approve doubling the cost of a dorm-to-office conversion.

ARPA requirements may put Montana schools at risk for federal funding

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen has expressed concern that 105 Montana school districts may fail to meet federal standards for COVID-19 relief funding, and informed the U.S. Department of Education last month that OPI cannot distribute the funds until the issue is resolved.

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