That’s the question the members of our Idahoans for Excellence in Education coalition get asked frequently. We like answering that question. Despite the broad diversity of our coalition of various education, business, children’s, and parent organizations, we are united by one goal: creating excellent public schools throughout Idaho. To that end, we are unanimous in our belief that the complete and successful implementation of the Idaho Core Standards is a critical step toward improving student achievement across the state.
“Our coalition represents all the major stakeholders who care about the success of Idaho’s students—parents, teachers, school administrators, child-advocate groups and the business community,” said Skip Oppenheimer, Chairperson of Idaho Business for Education, a non-profit group of 85 Idaho businesses that is working to improve education. “From a business point of view, the Idaho Core Standards are important because they will help ensure that we have the highly educated and skilled workforce needed to compete in the 21st century.”
Based on the Common Core State Standards adopted by 45 states, the Idaho Core Standards:
- Raise the bar for what students learn in math and English and better prepare them for the rigors of a post-secondary education.
- Strengthen local control of Idaho schools by allowing local educators to make key decisions about how to deliver education.
- Were developed with the support of Idaho’s elected leaders and approved by the State Board of Education in the fall of 2010, after a series of public hearings around the state, and by the state Legislature in 2011.
- Have been endorsed by Gov. Otter’s Task Force For Improving Education.
From teachers to business leaders and parents, our coalition members have voiced their unequivocal support for the Idaho Core Standards.
“For years, educators have embraced the various patchwork programs that have been introduced into their classrooms,” said Penni Cyr, Idaho Education Association President. “While each program, in isolation, may have had nominal positive impacts on our students’ performance, educators realize that a bigger, more fundamental change is necessary. With the support of teachers, parents, lawmakers and other invested constituencies, the Idaho Core Standards can provide that fundamental change.”
“Idahoans helped shape the standards and they were voluntarily adopted by the State of Idaho,” said Rod Gramer, President of Idaho Business for Education. “The federal government had no role in developing the standards or approving them. No federal money is tied to whether Idaho adopts them or not. The standards actually strengthen local control. How else could you get such a broad coalition to support them?”
Joel Wilson, president of the Idaho School Superintendents Association, said, “While Idaho superintendents are extremely cautious about federal or state interference into the affairs of local school districts, the group believes that the Idaho Core Standards will provide students opportunities for deeper understanding of coursework and will lead students to become proficient critical thinkers. Idaho Core Standards will prepare students for success in post-secondary education or training and in the Idaho workforce.”
“As a parent and education activist, and a member of the Governor’s Education Task Force, I think doing anything to slow or stop the implementation of the Idaho Core Standards in public schools statewide would be a big mistake. It would deal a significant setback to the efforts underway to create a brighter future for our children and economy,” said Mike Lanza, founder of Idaho Parents and Teachers Together and former chair of the Vote No On Props 1, 2, 3 campaign.