Coalition forms to support Idaho Core Standards

broberts@idahostatesman.comJuly 23, 2013 

Eighteen groups, including school districts, businesses, chambers of commerce and Micron Technology Inc., have created a coalition to support Idaho Core Standards, a set of expectations for what students should be learning in school.

Announcement of the coalition — called Idahoans for Excellence in Education — comes as opponents to the standards are bringing in national speakers to Boise Saturday who have criticized the Common Core. Supporters say Common Core, under adoption by more than 40 states, is a rigorous set of standards that challenges students to be critical thinkers and examines subjects in greater depth than current standards.

The standards cover English and math.

Idaho Core Standards, the state's version of the Common Core, take effect in Idaho classrooms this fall.

“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, chairman of Idaho Business for Education, a non-profit group of 85 Idaho businesses that is working to improve education.

Meridian and Boise school districts, the state’s largest and second-largest districts, are part of the coalition.

“We feel the Common Core is very important to what we are trying to do in the state to make sure students graduate from high school ready for college and a career,” said Linda Clark, district superintendent.

Coalition members say Idaho Core Standards are not an intrusion of the federal government into local and state education, despite the concerns of opponents.

“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?”

The the list of coalition members:

Idaho Business for Education

Idaho Education Association

Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry

Idaho Parents and Teachers Together

Treasure Valley Education Partnership

Emmett School District

Meridian Joint School District

Boise School District

Idaho State Alliance of YMCAs

Micron Technology

Idaho Voices for Children

Meridian Chamber of Commerce

Greater Boise Chamber of Commerce

Idaho Leads

Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children

Idaho State Board of Education

Idaho President’s Council (representing Idaho’s college and university presidents)

Idaho Digital Learning

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