Idaho Lawmakers Prepare For Education Fight In 2014

By Jessica Robinson

A group of conservative Idaho lawmakers wants the state to reconsider standards known as the Common Core in the upcoming legislative session. Idaho schools are three years into implementing the new math and English standards. But, the Common Core was a hot topic at a forum Monday night in Coeur d'Alene.

Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri, state Sen. Steve Vick, state Sen. Steven Thayn, and state Sen. Russ Fulcher speak at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene. Photo by Jessica Robinson.The audience was fairly quiet as four Republican state lawmakers described their vision for Idaho's economy … until, state Senator Russ Fulcher of Meridian responded to a question about Common Core.

Russ Fulcher: “The responsibility for Idahoans' education needs to be kept here in Idaho. So I have a problem with the Common Core as it's currently being laid out.”
Audience member: “Good!” (Applause)

Forty-five states, including Idaho, Oregon and Washington, have adopted the standards. Opponents say Common Core takes curriculum decisions out of the hands of local districts. Those critics are pushing for Idaho to hold back on parts of the rollout.

Idaho's Republican superintendent of public instruction Tom Luna has made a case for Common Core. He argues the more rigorous expectations will better prepare students for college or career.

In anticipation of a fight this winter, the chairs of the Idaho House and Senate education committees wrote an open letter to their colleagues last week, urging them to stay the course on Common Core.

Photo: Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri, state Sen. Steve Vick, state Sen. Steven Thayn, and state Sen. Russ Fulcher speak at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene. Photo by Jessica Robinson.

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