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Core learning

Trustees show concern about school standards

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Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - The Idaho Core Standards will be in place in Idaho K-12 classrooms this fall, and Coeur d'Alene school trustees are among a growing group of citizens who have concerns about the education benchmarks.

"Suppose I wanted Idaho to have the best education in the nation. How do we do it with a nationalized standard?" asked Brent Regan, during a board workshop held Monday in Coeur d'Alene.

The Common Core is a states-led effort to align and elevate education standards. Idaho Superintendent Tom Luna began working with other state education leaders and governors in 2007 to begin developing more rigorous standards for math and English language arts education in the nation. Gov. Butch Otter joined the effort in 2009.

The Idaho Core Standards were given final approval by the Idaho Legislature in 2011.

"The standards are different from the curriculum," said Superintendent Hazel Bauman, during the workshop. "Curriculum is created locally."

In recent months, Republicans and Tea Party activists nationwide have come out increasingly against the standards adopted by 45 states.

Earlier this month, the Republican National Committee issued a resolution calling the standards "an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children."

A recent petition opposing the Common Core was signed by several local citizens, including Duncan Koler, an anti-IB activist from Hayden whose campaign efforts helped lead to the 2011 elections of trustees Tom Hamilton and Terri Seymour.

Glenn Beck, conservative television and radio commentator, came out swinging against the Common Core Standards in March. Idaho schools chief Tom Luna's office swung back by advising Idaho education reporters that Beck was spreading "misinformation," and alerting journalists that "Keep Education Local" websites created by national interest groups also have information that isn't accurate.

"The most popular myth is that these are national standards that were developed by President Obama and his administration and are now being applied in states across the country," Melissa McGrath, Luna's spokeswoman, wrote. "This is not true ... The federal government was never involved in the development of these standards, nor have they made it a requirement in any way for states to adopt these standards."

During Monday's workshop, board chair Hamilton said he has spoken with Luna about the education standards and some of the concerns.

"He didn't say the concern didn't have some validity," Hamilton said. "They are going to address it at the state level."

The shift to Core Standards also requires a change in the student assessment method from the Idaho Standards Achievement Test, or ISAT, to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test, or SBAC.

The SBAC website,, describes it as "one of two multistate consortia awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by the 2014-15 school year."

"Are we forcing teachers to teach to the test, which by default indicates we don't have that much control over our curriculum?" queried Hamilton.

McGrath told The Press Monday that Luna "remains in full support of these higher standards and their implementation in Idaho."

"We at the State Department of Education strongly believe these higher academic standards are what is best for Idaho students to make sure every child graduates from high school prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce," McGrath said.

Bob Quant, a representative from the Idaho State Department of Education, attended Monday's workshop, and discussed student data collection, another area of concern some have with the Common Core Standards.

Quant said the state's longitudinal data system, which connects school districts with the state education department, accepts information uploaded by districts. The information is encrypted, he said, and when information is provided to the U.S. Department of Education, it is aggregated - the individual names of students and teachers are not provided.

"We don't share servers. Our hardware is not connected to the federal government," Quant said.

The trustees plan to schedule a community chat, likely sometime after the May 21 election, to address the issue with constituents. They also said they would like to gather feedback about the Core Standards from teachers.

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  • Peter posted at 6:27 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    Peter Posts: 642

    Wrong peter. They took God out of the school. Remember? This is YOUR excuse. Where is your "TOLERANCE" now?

    Speaking of tolerance, you should really re-read your posts on the threads you post in. Why, do you really believe in all those Glen Beck tinfoil hat rubish?

  • whatwillbe53 posted at 12:20 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    whatwillbe53 Posts: 178

    God is out - morning pill is in. obama pushes for unsecured shelf access.
    15 yr old can steal or buy RU-486 for their 8 year old cuddle mutt.
    The Brave New World has arrived.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:32 am on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Wrong peter. They took God out of the school. Remember? This is YOUR excuse. Where is your "TOLERANCE" now?

  • Peter posted at 7:55 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    Peter Posts: 642

    Wrong, there are to many parents preaching THEIR beliefs to the school system...

    Yes, they are preaching their idiotic biblical view of "flat earth" junk science, fringe IB/Common Core UN conspiracy theories, and tea party platform of cutting everything. It wouldn't suprise me if some of the RR candidates don't even have kids in the school district or homeschools them. We need sound sane people who put the kids first and not ideology.

  • whatwillbe53 posted at 12:44 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    whatwillbe53 Posts: 178

    with Common Core Classes and the FDA Approving Plan B's Over-the-Counter Sale, there is no reason for a teen female to drop out of school in shame. Now all the Liberals have to screech about is the lack of Plan B at the school nurses office.

  • Rationale posted at 6:44 pm on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    Rationale Posts: 1975

    Hey, lola,

    I don't know Mr. Regan, but let me point out how stupid you sound when you claim he is clueless about education. I suggest you look into the background of Luna and justify your faith in his moronic ideas. If ever there was a man not deserving of his position, it is Luna!

    As for common core in English and Math, students should have certain abilities before they graduate. But they should NOT be tied to multiple guess high stakes testing! Multiple guess, high stakes testing is 100% worthless and is not a solution to the problems in Education!

  • concernedcitizen posted at 4:33 pm on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    voxpop wrote "Every parent in Cda wants their child to be able to compete......"

    Wrong, there are to many parents preaching THEIR beliefs to the school system and how their little suzie is deserving just because of who she is, little johnny just because he is a football star, little rodney because he has some form of handicap, little whoever because of.........

    These parents want special treatment and/or entitlement for whatever reason. There are those that do not want uniforms in "PUBLIC" education. Why not? even the most stupid kid will qualify to work at mickey d's which, by the way, requires a uniform.

    Get rid of the touchy feely KR@P and freedom of expression and make the kids knuckle down buckle down or it is home to the parents. Run a drug dog through the school and parking lot, even the teachers lot. Instill a code of conduct, a REAL one and hold everyone, including the teachers to it.

  • LTRLTR posted at 2:28 pm on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    involvedad: Let's hear your personal thoughts on the proposed common core education?

  • LTRLTR posted at 2:26 pm on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    lola: Let's hear your own answers to your question to Mr. Regan?

  • LTRLTR posted at 2:25 pm on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    lola: There you go again with your insulting attacks. How about sharing your thoughts and understanding of the common core education?

  • Flash Gordon posted at 1:52 pm on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1346

    Boy, howdy. Not only is there an objection to federally mandated standards but now "we're" devolving into objections to state mandated standards.

    The far right is not into "states rights" anymore? This gives new meaning to "local control"...........

  • arius1 posted at 12:00 pm on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    arius1 Posts: 775

    I have to agree with Involvedad's last statement. Implementing this standard is an issue. My wife who is a teacher, attends meetings where the district is trying to teach the teachers how to implement it. The common consensus is that those trying to educate the educators on common core, are really confused themselves. when questions are asked of them, either the answers are vague, or they don't have an answer. Thus the teachers are really confused.
    I asked my wife after one of these meetings ( where she told me how frustrating and a waste of time it was), if the other teachers and her principle found it to be confusing as well and she said they all agree.
    I'm not sure if Common Core is a good thing or not, but ya can't just say here is this program we designed, it's going to better our kids education, now implement it, without a clear path to its implementation.

  • whatwillbe53 posted at 11:16 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    whatwillbe53 Posts: 178

    the standard becomes a ceiling when course content is dumbed down to the extent that the brightest are bored and leave for Charter, Gonzaga, or private school. Their parents realize the value of a quality education. Idaho will never succeed if the standard adopted allows the least motivated imbecile to walk the graduation line. Education reform has devalued the high school diploma. Many employers today look for a masters degree.

    Character assassination is in vogue among teachers and their cohorts.

  • whatwillbe53 posted at 11:07 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    whatwillbe53 Posts: 178

    There are two issues that get commingled in arriving at the best education:
    1) standard
    2) cost of doing business

    It is laughable to compare the per pupil expenditures between say New York City and Coeur d'Alene. Nor should an Idaho teacher garner the same salary as a NYC teacher. Studies done in Boise and Meridian revealed no better outcome with Boise spending $2,000 more per pupil. Idaho doesn't have to spend $12,000 per seat for a student's annual education.

    Like most states, Idaho has a two-tiered system based on student effort. If the student wants to attend Harvard, Yale, MIT, or some other prestigious university, they must take every Advanced Placement class they can at the earliest possible grade level. In too many instances local and early effort by students doesn't even prepare them for NIC. Who is to blame?
    ineffective teachers?
    course content?
    the age of the school building?
    rural vs. urban?
    effort of student?

    In most cases, it is the latter metric. Lack of motivation to learn cannot be overcome by rigorous razzle-dazzle. Back when I was a kid it was embarrassing to be held back a grade. How many students got held back a grade in your school last year? How many dropped out for lack of interest? How many failed yet were advanced?`

    As for Mr. Reagan's laughable characterization, it seemed appropriate. He is also capable of categorizing similar threats into one group.

  • tracy644 posted at 10:53 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    tracy644 Posts: 20

    my few cents worth- How do we make sure it is the floor and not the celing? I thought the common cores goal was teach to proficiency- if that is the case, then the standards are the floor and not the celing. Ok, that problem solved, time to move on. "just teaching to the test" That is always going to be the case, so what we need to do is have the tests reflexed the skills a student needs to know, not just information. Tests need to get away from regurgitation of knowledge and more to constructing and applying that knowledge in different ways.
    Now from the conspiracy theory side of me-- Test scores are always going to be at the forefront of the conversation because it is the one thing that both the republicans and democrats can rally on- and I do not mean good test scores, but bad ones. When scores are low, democrats and scream for more money and republicans can scream for more control. It is the one issue that the worse it is, the better it is for both parties.

  • Involvedad posted at 9:29 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    Involvedad Posts: 20

    Mr. Regan, if you don't know how to insure that a standard remains a floor and not a ceiling then perhaps you aren't cut out for the leadership position on a school board to which you were appointed? How did you insure that your own home schooled children didn't settle for the bare minimum? Having a common core standard doesn't seem to be the problem, having a school board that doesn't understand how to implement it does.

  • lola123 posted at 8:37 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    lola123 Posts: 338

    Mr. Regan,
    “How do we ensure that national standards don’t become a ceiling to our students rather than a floor?”

    That is laughable. Just like your Campaign "Slogan"

    "Conservative Solutions .... NOT Slogans"

    What a Joke!

  • will-- posted at 8:16 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    will-- Posts: 960

    The federal government has failed at everything it has done except print money, and now we expect them to succeed at establishing academic standards?

  • DeNiles posted at 7:26 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    The yardstick used by the federal gov't are not those standards of education but the relative success of the system. For the feds it is the quantity of graduates, not the quality of the education required to graduate. The feds want every kid to graduate. They do not care how that happens but they will punish you if you fail.

    So the states make that happen. They have dumbed down the curriculum so that anyone can pass. Everyone gets a diploma. Everyone gets a trophy. Nobody gets disciplined. Nobody fails. Nobody ever gets expelled.

    This is what needs to change. Put the academic bar back up to a higher level. Return discipline to the classroom. Stop expecting that every child will succeed. The system is not a social welfare program but an educational program. Some kids excel, some do not and some will fail. Some parents are more supportive, others are not, some do not know the difference. Can't fix that. It is NOT your job.

  • Screen Name posted at 7:25 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    Screen Name Posts: 822

    Unfortunately, Mr. Regan demonstrates once again that he is unable to respond to criticism without resorting to the use of condescension. "Laughable". Was that really necessary? I submit that this is not a character trait that serves a public official well.

    As to the substance of the issue, Mr. Regan suggests no alternative to the Core Standards. This too is troubling that a public official who argues against a position can articulate no viable alternative. What standard should #271 have? None? The Core Standard? The Regan Standard?

    You posed the question Mr. Regan: "Suppose I wanted Idaho to have the best education in the nation. How do we do it with a nationalized standard?" Have you no idea of how to accomplish this task while working within the Core standards? Where is the genius problem solver that I have heard so much about? Constrained by political ideology?

  • lola123 posted at 6:49 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    lola123 Posts: 338

    Vox I agree 100%. The politically anointed Mr Regan is clueless when it comes education as well as protocol and common sense when it comes to speaking i.e. (black and scary). Actually the clueless part is mostly true of the entire current school board.

    Here's a tip, try actually reading the Common Core script as it is written and adopted by our STATE OFFICIALS.

  • Brent Regan posted at 6:47 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    Brent Regan Posts: 630

    voxpop’s mischaracterization of my statement is laughable.

    If we set the goal of having the best schools in the nation and, given the tendency to “teach for the test” the question becomes “How do we ensure that national standards don’t become a ceiling to our students rather than a floor?”

  • voxpop posted at 5:55 am on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    "Suppose I wanted Idaho to have the best education in the nation. How do we do it with a nationalized standard?" asked Brent Regan.

    From that comment it's obvious that Regan has no clue whatsoever how education is meant to create student competency for employment. Every parent in Cda wants their child to be able to compete nationally and not just settle for the next Idaho minimum wage job that comes along. But that's exactly what Regan and the KCRR want: kids whose only choice are local dead end jobs. People like this have no business being on our school board.

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