COEUR d'ALENE - The Common Core standards will be in place in Idaho schools this fall, but the controversy over them appears to be far from over.
A pair of Washington-based anti-Common Core activists spoke Monday to about 70 people at Candlelight Christian Fellowship.
"If you have concerns, do something about it," said speaker J. Wilson, following his part of the presentation, "Common Core - the Next Step."
Wilson is an advocate with Truth in American Education, an organization that describes itself as "a nonpartisan group of citizens concerned about the centralization of education through the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Assessment Consortiums and Data Mining."
The Common Core initiative, led by state education leaders and governors, created academic standards designed to be more rigorous than existing standards, and aligns those standards among states that choose to adopt them. Idaho signed on to the effort in 2009, and the state adopted the Common Core standards in 2011. There are now 45 states that have adopted the standards.
Wilson and the other speaker, Sharon Hanek, criticized the way the standards were developed and discussed how they anticipate the standards will be presented in the classroom. Each said the standards present a loss of local control in education.
They both provided information that was often at odds with information that has been provided by the state Department of Education and Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, a proponent of the standards.
Hanek, who calls herself the "Research Mom," was a Republican candidate in Washington for State Treasurer.
Earlier in the day, before the meeting, Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, said he was invited, but that he would not attend the two-hour talk.
Goedde, a supporter of the standards, said he was, however, considering attending a meeting the group was holding at 5 p.m. at the church for legislators.
"It's always good to know what the opponents of something you believe in are saying about it," Goedde said.
The presentation at the church was hosted by a group called the Friends of Idaho, introduced by Sage Dixon. Dixon said Friends of Idaho is a newly formed non-governmental organization focused on preserving and maintaining Idaho's sovereignty.
Coeur d'Alene School District Trustee Terri Seymour was one of three of that district's school board members to attend the presentation.
Tom Hearn and Dave Eubanks also attended.
Last week, Seymour asked Coeur d'Alene Superintendent Matt Handelman to forward an invitation to attend the Common Core talk to all school district employees.
Seymour told The Press Monday afternoon that she wasn't promoting the presentation, and that she doesn't have an opinion on the standards yet.
"Because I don't know enough about it. I want to hear everything there is to hear about it," Seymour said. "For a trustee, that's my job, no matter what the issue is."
She said she is not hosting the event, and acknowledged that she had Becky Funk help her set up a Facebook event so she could invite her friends to attend the talk.
Seymour said she wants everyone, including the teachers, to be familiar with all sides of the issue.
"I want them to be able to make their own decisions about it," Seymour said.
Trustee Christa Hazel told The Press she did not attend because she did not think the presentation would be objective. Hazel said she has discussed the topic at length with Sen. Goedde and with local teachers. She attended the state's Education Task Force meeting last spring, and said she supports the standards.
"I look forward to an opportunity when an objective discussion representing both sides of this issue can occur in our community," Hazel said. "I believe our interested parents deserve to hear factually correct information in an unbiased manner. I think most people prefer information over rhetoric when it comes to our children."