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.
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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.
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.
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.
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Last year, 137 Montana schools employed unlicensed teachers, more than half of them in rural areas. MTFP partnered with the Hechinger Report to investigate how continued barriers to teacher certification are impacting administrators, teachers and classrooms.
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.
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.
The latest figures from the Montana Office of Public Instruction show $564 million is still left in federal COVID-19 relief coffers for K-12 education.
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.
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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