The Idaho Senate Tuesday approved a pilot project that would allow high school students to graduate early and receive funding to attend state universities. Senators added a six-year expiration date to the program, so it will need to be approved by the House again.
The Mastery Advancement Pilot Program (MAPP) would let students take a test, or otherwise demonstrate the knowledge learned in a class, to skip a class or full year of school. The six-year pilot program would be open to 21 school districts and three charter schools.
“This would provide school districts and students, particularly the bright and motivated students, a vehicle to move through the system a little bit faster,” said Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian. “It is entirely voluntary.” Students who graduate early could also receive a small scholarship to attend an Idaho public university or college. “It’s a low-risk attempt to encourage the bright minds to accelerate and to stay in the great state of Idaho,” Fulcher said.
Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, was one of seven senators who opposed the plan. He said he hoped the MAPP smoldered and died when Fulcher previously pulled it before a vote to add the six-year time limit. He said the pilot project could be too risky. “We experiment with lab animals, not with children,” he said. Schroeder also said that too many provisions of the MAPP, including what tests students would take to pass a class, aren’t spelled out in the legislation. Fulcher told Schroeder some of the specifics of the proposal would be decided by the state education department and local school districts.