Archive for the ‘General Resources’ Category


One of the country’s most respected conservative leaders recently made what he called the “Conservative Case for Common Core” in a guest opinion published in The Wall Street Journal.

William Bennett served as the Secretary of Education in the Reagan Administration and has been one of the most credible conservative thinkers of the past 40 years. In other words, he is a true conservative who sees the Common Core – otherwise known as the Idaho Core Standards in our state – as something that should be embraced by conservatives everywhere.

Bennett’s comments are important because across the country – and especially here in Idaho – conservatives have been the most outspoken critics of the Core Standards.

Bennett wrote that all Americans, and especially conservatives, should be able to agree on a few fundamental principles:

  • That there should be common standards to assess how students in K-12 public education are performing
  • That there are “common and shared truths in English literature and math”
  • That there should be a common assessment states use to measure if students are learning
  • That all students should be prepared to become good citizens
  • That all students should be prepared to leave school and compete in the job market

Achieving these goals, Bennett wrote, is the “fundamental idea” behind the core standards which emphasizes “what’s essential” in fields like literature and math, contributing to what he calls a “worthwhile education.”

Fundamentally, he says, this is a “conservative idea.”

Unfortunately, Bennett wrote, the debate over the Common Core Standards has been “contaminated by politics.” He said the Obama Administration made a mistake by encouraging states to adopt the standards through its Race to the Top program because it smacked of federal overreach.

But this “unwelcome and unhelpful” federal intrusion does not erase the fact that the Common Core Standards were envisioned and created by the states voluntarily, Bennett said. Nor does it change what Bennett calls a “basic truth” – the Standards are “good, conservative policy.”

Bennett concludes by writing: “The principles behind the Common Core affirm a great intellectual tradition and inheritance. We should not allow them to be hijacked by the federal government or misguided bureaucrats and politicos.”

We can only hope that Idaho’s conservative leaders heed this well-respected conservative leader and thinker. We can only hope that that they stay the course and let Idaho’s educators continue using the Idaho Core Standards to better set our young people up for success in school, work and life. As Bill Bennett says, we cannot afford to have the Idaho Core Standards hijacked by misguided politics.

(Rod Gramer is President of Idaho Business for Education and chairs a coalition of 31 Idaho organizations working to support the Idaho Core Standards)




Fifth grade students have been using methods taught through Idaho Core Standards for the last few years. From building a foundation for critical thinking and problem solving at an early age, these students can now apply various methods, whichever work best for them, to solve real-world problems.

The video below shows how these fifth grade students apply the core standards to a math problem in just a few minutes.

See how a foundation for education is built at the kindergarten level. 


New standards are being implemented in classrooms across the United State – Idaho has adopted the Idaho Core Standards and teachers are hard at work creating curricula using the standards as a foundation.

Students are learning new methods of critical thinking and problem solving. The fourth graders in the video below demonstrate how they use these various methods to solve a math problem in minutes.

See how fifth graders apply Idaho Core Standards in the next video. 


Since the implementation of Idaho Core Standards in the classroom over the last few years, several questions have been raised about how the standards will change education – some of which include why the standards teach some methods that many parents haven’t heard of, what students will be learning, and more.

This video clarifies what the standards look like in the classroom. As this third grade teacher poses a real-life question to students, the students choose to solve the problem using whichever model works best for them. These new standards teach students critical thinking skills and new ways to problem solve.

See how fourth graders apply Idaho Core Standards in the next video. 



Chuck Staben, new to the role of President at the University of Idaho, says one of his primary focuses for the upcoming years is improving enrollment. The Idaho Statesman asked the U of I President to share his views on the Idaho Core Standards during a recent interview. Mr. Staben explains that the standards are just that – a set of standards, not a curriculum.

Watch a further explanation of the difference between standards and a curriculum:


The Idaho Core Standards have been implemented in schools across Idaho and educators are using those standards to put together curricula to teach students new problem-solving skills and critical-thinking. To demonstrate how teachers are implementing the Idaho Core Standards and how students are applying different methods to problem solving, the first graders in the video below solve a math problem using a method that is preferable to their learning style.



Teachers across Idaho have been hard at work implementing the Idaho Core Standards over the last few years. These new problem-solving abilities and critical thinking skills can apply not only in the classroom, but also in the real world. This second grade school teacher presents students with a real-world problem, asking them to use the methods that work best for them in order to solve the problem. Take a look at how these second graders apply various learnings based on the Idaho Core Standards to solve the same math problem.


University-of-Idaho-September-2010-Davies-Moore-Kort-Duce-065Last week, more than 200 college and university leaders from 33 states — including nearly two dozen postsecondary systems with a combined enrollment of more than three million students — announced the launch of a new coalition that will serve as a vehicle for mobilizing higher education leaders supporting the Common Core State Standards.

Support included the presidents of Boise State University, Idaho State University and the University of Idaho. This effort was in response to the critical need for students to be better prepared to meet the demands of higher education and the workplace.

Right now, an unacceptable number of students must take remedial classes when they get to college – 24% of those attending Idaho 4-year institutions and 59% of those attending Idaho community colleges. This greatly reduces the likelihood that students will complete college or be prepared for the workforce. It also increases the costs for those students who do get their degree or certificate.

Looking ahead, Higher Ed for Higher Standards members across the states have committed to helping raise public awareness about the importance of the standards and making their voices heard with state policymakers, urging them to stay the course on career- and college-ready expectations. “This is a lesson Amanda Ripley, author of the Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way, sees throughout her tour of “the smart-kid countries”.

Children succeed in classrooms where they are expected to succeed. Schools work best when they operate with a clarity of mission: as places to help students master complex academic material.” (The Economist, August 17, 2013) Idaho is striving to be one of those places – not just for kids in wealthy, urban districts, but in every community in the state. Higher standards are something we owe every one of Idaho’s students.


The Idaho Core Standards are goals set at the state level for what a child should know and be able to do at each grade level. Curriculum are the materials chosen by local school districts to achieve those standards. Take a look at this simple infographic which explains standards versus curriculum in more detail.






















































































For more parent or grade-specific resources, Click Here.


The new Common Core Standards are more rigorous than Idaho’s previous standards and are on par with what is taught in leading countries around the world. These new standards ensure that students in Idaho are taught to a higher standard than before. 

This video infographic for the Idaho Common Core Standards focuses on how the standards develop a student’s critical-thinking, problem-solving, and writing skills — real-world skills that every student needs to be successful in college and in life.

For more parent or teacher resources, Click Here.