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House Bill 470 — Student literacy, online

House Bill 470 — Student literacy, online

Parrish Miller
February 14, 2020

Bill description: HB 470 creates a new digital library for students that is funded and run by the government. 

Rating: -2

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

HB 470 creates a new section of Idaho code that empowers the state Department of Education to make available "a statewide online student literacy and academic text support system." 

The bill further states that "the support system shall offer unlimited access to authentic, nonfiction texts personalized for students, match texts to students based on age and lexile reading level, and allow the classroom teacher to monitor student engagement and growth."

This is an expansion of government and one that likely competes with the private sector, at least to some degree. The proposal also raises concerns about censorship and central planning in the selection of what is added to this system and to whom it is made available.


Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

According to the statement of purpose for HB 470, the full implementation of this system is estimated at $1.5 million. This estimate likely ignores the ongoing costs required to license copyrighted materials that are added to the system. 


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