Coalition forms to support Common Core education standards

The group goes public as opponents to the standards bring speakers to Boise.

broberts@idahostatesman.comJuly 24, 2013 

  • 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

Idaho’s workforce and economy will benefit from rigorous standards going into schools statewide this fall, say Idaho business organizations that are among 18 groups in a new coalition supporting Idaho Core Standards.

“It is an opportunity for young Idahoans to be prepared to compete both nationally and internationally,” said Dee Mooney, Micron Foundation executive director. Micron Technology Inc. is a member of the coalition.

Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce sees the standards as an opportunity to produce a better trained workforce.

“It is no secret that we have an issue with those high school students not going on to something after high school,” said Ray Stark, chamber senior vice president. Common Core could better prepare student for post-secondary training, say supporters.

Meridian and Boise school districts, the state’s largest and second-largest districts, are part of the new Idahoans for Excellence in Education coalition announced Tuesday.

“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 Meridian Superintendent Linda Clark.

Timing of Tuesday’s announcement was meant in part to let people know there is support for the standards as opponents gather this weekend, said Rod Gramer, president and CEO of Idaho Business for Education, a nonprofit group of 85 Idaho businesses. But the announcement came also because all the details had been worked out in forming the coalition.

Idaho Core Standards cover English and math. They are the state's version of Common Core, a set of standards for what students should know that have been adopted in more than 40 states.

“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.

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,” Gramer said.

Tom Luna, state superintendent of public instruction and an early advocate for Common Core, said he welcomed the coalition.

“I am pleased this broad spectrum of stakeholders has come together to support raising our academic standards. This support demonstrates what we have known all along: parents, teachers, business leaders and community organizations all understand the importance of raising expectations for every child.”

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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