Gov. Little appoints new State Board of Education member

By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports

Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced the appointment of new State Board of Education member on Wednesday, naming Bill Gilbert, of Boise.

Gilbert serves on the board of Idaho Business for Education and was appointed co-chair of the “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” task force by Little in 2019.

Gilbert’s appointment comes amid scrutiny and criticism of the SBOE. In its last meeting, the Board discussed introducing a new diversity and inclusion policy after Idaho lawmakers fought over the funding of four-year higher education schools.

The policy came after HB 377, passed in the last legislative session, was signed by Little on April 28.  The bill was intended to prohibit schools from forcing students to personally adhere to any ideology taught.

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who is running for governor, has developed an education task force to discuss indoctrination, Marxism and other issues related to public schools. SBOE President Kurt Liebich has repeatedly said there is no evidence of widespread indoctrination in Idaho public schools.

“As the co-chair of my ‘Our Kids, Idaho’s Future’ task force, which led to more than $225 million in additional funds toward educator salaries by expanding the career ladder, Bill demonstrated his commitment to strengthening public education in Idaho,” Little said in a press release. “As a businessman and community leader, Bill brings a perspective that will benefit Idaho’s kids because he is keenly aware of what employers are seeking in a prepared and fully-equipped work force. Education remains my top priority, and I am pleased Bill accepted this position. His insights will help shape Idaho’s education system for the better.”

Gilbert is cofounder of Caprock, a multi-family office investment advisor, overseeing more than $7 billion in client assets, according to Little’s office.

Members of the State Board of Education are appointed by the governor for five-year terms. The eighth voting member is the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, an elected position. Gilbert replaces Andy Scoggin, whose term on the board ended on July 1.

“This is an important time for public education in Idaho, and I look forward to continuing to press ahead with the work that began two years ago,” Gilbert said in the press release. “At that time, we could not have imagined what was to come for our students, parents, and educators mere months after the K-12 task force completed its work. Coming out of the pandemic, we need to be focused on closing the gaps in student achievement, accelerating learning in our schools, and continuing our momentum in areas such as early literacy and college and career readiness.”

Disclosure: Idaho Public Television is an entity of the State Board of Education.

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