Luna explains Common Core - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Luna explains Common Core

Idaho standards will be in place in schools this fall

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, August 2, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - A group of North Idaho opponents of the Common Core initiative went head-to-head Thursday in Coeur d'Alene with one of the effort's leading proponents, Idaho public schools chief Tom Luna.

The event, an informational meeting organized by Tea Party leader Pam Stout of Bonner County, attracted about 35 people to the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

Luna arrived a few minutes late for the morning gathering, and as he walked to the front of the room, past the waiting audience, he smiled, apologized for being late, and said, tongue-in-cheek, "Am I in trouble?"

From the chairs, a man shouted a comment that set the tone for the rest of the one-hour meeting: "Hey Tom, you are in trouble, because you're pushing something we don't want."

Luna then proceeded to give a presentation about the Idaho Core Standards, the Gem State's version of the Common Core Standards. The core standards are academic benchmarks designed to be more rigorous than existing standards. They align across the 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.

The Idaho standards will be in place in the state's public schools this fall.

Throughout Luna's presentation, he was confronted by people in the crowd who shouted out comments, often challenging what Luna, the highest elected education official in Idaho was saying about the core standards.

"Everything about this is by Bill Gates," yelled a man.

He interrupted Luna at a point when Luna was telling the group that Idaho's higher education leaders say that with the new standards in place, they believe the state's high school graduates will be college-ready and will not require remedial course work before they are able to take college-level classes. About 50 percent of college entrants in the state now require remediation before they can earn college credits.

Stout asked the audience members to withhold their comments and questions until Luna finished his presentation.

Luna tried to address one of the core standards' detractors chief complaints - a perception that the standards are heavily influenced and controlled by the federal government, that they represent a federal curriculum. Luna told the group that under the Constitution the federal government has no role or authority over education.

"Then explain the U.S. Department of Education," shouted out an audience member.

Audience members said the standards are too low, that they don't aim high enough.

Some people at the meeting indicated they believe textbook publishers are in collusion with the developers of the Common Core, that corporate interests are driving the effort and the curriculum.

Several times, Luna asked the audience members to review the standards, which can be found on the state education department's website, and tell him which ones they think are too high or too low. He said he has asked various groups this question, and has never heard a specific complaint about any of the standards.

Maureen Paterson, from outside Priest River in Bonner County, handed out fliers at the start of the meeting. The headline topping a list of "documented facts" handed out by Paterson was "Common Core = Obama Core."

During the meeting, Paterson shared a concern of many core standards opponents.

She said that if teachers are being evaluated based on student assessments connected with the core standards, the curriculum will ultimately be driven by the standards. Therefore, Paterson reasoned, local control of curriculum is affected by the core standards.

Another woman said businesses that develop curriculum are already aligning themselves with the standards.

"They've always aligned their curriculum to state standards," Luna said.

He said that Idaho is too small, that it doesn't have the funding to develop an assessment as robust as the one that accompanies the core standards. The test has been developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, represented by a group of Common Core states, including Idaho.

Luna said several times that local districts retain control over their curriculum under the standards.

Linda Yergler, a trustee in the Kellogg School District, said she sits on her district's curriculum committee.

"When I ask if we can pick our own textbooks, they say we can't," Yergler said. "If we have local control, I would be a really happy camper, but it's less and less."

A person complained that the standards haven't been tested, that they don't know if they'll be good for students.

"What we do know is that every time we raise standards, performance goes up," Luna said.

Before raising similar complaints to those previously discussed, a man who spoke late in the meeting described himself as a Tea Party member.

"I'm a fan," said Luna, a Republican, before the man continued.

At the end of the meeting, Luna told the group he was sorry if he "got a little defensive" during the presentation, and said he appreciates that they came out and shared their opinions.

"I think it's the right role for states to work together on this, to find efficiencies," he said.

Luna then headed over to The Coeur d'Alene Resort, where he gave a similar presentation to the Kootenai County Federation of Republican Women.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • lone wolf posted at 1:50 pm on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    lone wolf Posts: 246

    GOP fear of Common Core education standards unfounded.

  • mathEd posted at 1:49 pm on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    mathEd Posts: 1

    By the way, everyone can try out the new tests (at least samples). It tells you a lot about what the students are expected to know. Go to

    and just click on Sign In, then pick a grade and click on Yes. Then pick a test. Click away and then try some of the questions. Some are multiple choice/multiple guess, but many are not. It is a far cry from the old ISAT tests, which you can sample here

    Look at the assessments and think back to when you were age 8 to 16. The new assessments and their rigor seem to be moving in a good direction, at least in the math sections I have been looking at. Reading the actual assessment items can be mind-numbing. But looking at the actual assessment items is more informative, at least to me.

  • thepointis posted at 12:18 pm on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    thepointis Posts: 110

    Video and transcript of Gates describing CC. Note how the goal is for the curriculum to align with the tests and the assessments are developed via stimulus funds (federal).

    Clip 5:
    The standards will match the best in the world. Identifying common standards is just the starting point. We know we have been effective when the curriculum and tests are aligned to the standards. (While at the same time the education commissioners are insisting schools can choose their own curriculum and does anyone STILL believe there is no federal involvement?): Arne Duncan has announced that $350,000,000 will be used just for the formulation of these assessments: next generation of tests aligned to the common core. When the tests are aligned to the common standards the curriculum will line up as well. (An added bonus or the real intent): AND IT WILL UNLEASH A POWERFUL MARKET OF PEOPLE PROVIDING SERVICES FOR BETTER TEACHING. For the first time there will be a uniform base of customers looking at using products (decided by Gates or local school boards?) that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better. (Now this is at the heart of elitism): Now imagine having the people who create great online video games applying their intelligence to online tools to pull kids in and make alegebra and other subjects fun. (Guess the intelligence/training teachers go to school for counts for little in the new program).

    Clip 6:
    The stimulus package contains funding for longitudinal data systems. I hope you'll use this funding to track students performance from early childhood through high school and college and into the workplace. Student performance should be linked to the teacher and the curriculum in the instructional tools....what teachers, curriculum leads to student success.

  • wheels1 posted at 9:33 am on Sat, Aug 3, 2013.

    wheels1 Posts: 484

    Your last sentence derailed your comment and clearly demonstates your true level of ignorance.

  • AnonymousCda posted at 10:21 pm on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    AnonymousCda Posts: 350

    We need educated students that are able to imagine, wonder, invent, create, to think, to express, to communicate, to understand, to question and reason.

    a must read current article of the Inlander (August) "Expanding Our View". Well done article by Robert Herold.

    This common core is to brainwash students into conformity an obey like little lap dogs. By forming a education factory that produces nothing but simpletons year by year.

  • lone wolf posted at 7:33 pm on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    lone wolf Posts: 246

  • oscar posted at 5:28 pm on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    oscar Posts: 1707

    I do not trust Luna but I have to agree with him when he mentioned that these standards have been moving into place for about two years and he wondered where all of the complaints were then. Seems like all of the people with concerns are a little late getting organized. Let the Common Core begin.

  • Greg81 posted at 4:29 pm on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    Greg81 Posts: 78

    Now to set the record straight, Voxpop. We do not have public schools anymore. We have government schools. Public schools went away upon the creation of the Dept. of Education. We would love to have real public education with local control. Something that NCLB and Common Core does not give. They are top down government control. By the way. Goedde is a progressive leftist. Your statement that we don't want it and don't want to pay for it is a straw argument.

    For one, many of those in private schools and home school not only have to pay for their own curriculum and tuition they must also pay the taxes that go to the government schools. They do not want the indoctrination of the government schools that has dumbed down so many kids on an immense scale. 45 states originally signed on because they were required to if they wanted to receive the stimulus money.

    But now. Many of them are starting to rethink it and have started to propose bills to repeal Common Core in their state. Many of those opposed to Common Core are teachers who have seen through the charade. So if you have an actual legitimate argument then bring it on. Otherwise don't waste our time with name calling and straw man arguments.

  • Jennifer-Locke posted at 3:13 pm on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    Jennifer-Locke Posts: 9

    From Idahoans for local education:

    Idaho Parents, on September 12, 2013 our Idaho legislative education committee is meeting to discuss data collection in Idaho schools. Since 2009 Idaho has been receiving federal grants to build an extensive and intrusive data collection system.

    What does this mean for Idaho’s children?

    Idaho’s system will now track each child on a personal level from the moment they enroll in school through the workforce. It will also warehouse this data for use by researchers. Each child is assigned a unique student ID. This ID will be tied to any information that is collected on the child. Idaho collects personal identifiable information, including: test scores, disciplinary records, counseling received, achievement level, the full list is a spreadsheet of 13 pages.

    Prior to 2010, this information was used only within the district and state as prescribed by policy and privacy laws. A student’s personal information could not be released without written consent by a parent or guardian. Reports were provided to the Federal Government, but they were aggregate reports and were not broken down to the student level. This provided a level of protection for students.
    This all changed in 2010. The Department of Education, without congressional approval, altered extensively the parental consent portions of the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA). The department also re-defined some key terms allowing the release of student-level records for non-academic research purposes.

    Idaho is currently finishing the last portion of the statewide data system. Currently we are linking with the Department of Transportation to obtain social security numbers, the records are then sent to the Idaho Department of Labor and each student is assigned a unique labor Id. This ID will take over and track data throughout the individual’s career. All of these points of data can be used without parental consent. A child has no protection or voice to protect them from abuses or leaks in this extensive system. There are no legal protections if an entity applies for access to information, and then sells or misuses the information.

    Idaho children need your voices. The agenda of this meeting includes several voices from individuals who are in favor of this open data model. Including, a national advocacy group Data Quality Campaign that is funded by several special interests that would profit from the open model. They have encouraged states to go even further by linking to social services and health and human services. We need to let our legislators know that Idaho parents want the right to protect our child’s information. Please contact the members of the education committee and tell them to pass legislation that restores parental consent, and blocks researchers and the Federal Government from any access to personally identifiable information.

  • Jennifer-Locke posted at 3:11 pm on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    Jennifer-Locke Posts: 9

    This was an email sent to me from

    "I have spoken with Andy Wehl, he is in charge of the last portion of our Idaho SLDS. His team is following the mandates given them by the state, and they are following the mandates that we agreed to when we took federal grant money. It is completely incorrect that we are only sharing aggregate data. We signed an agreement with the Department of Education guaranteeing that we would "make student-level data available on an on-going basis to the federal government and other researchers"

    The Federal privacy protection law that used to protect our children was altered in 2010, removing the need for school officials to have parental consent before sharing personal student information. If you call and ask the schools they are unaware of a lot of these changes. The laws were changed without most citizens being aware. There is a privacy advocacy group suing the Department of Education to reverse the changes and restore parental consent. Andy Wehl confirmed to me that we are gathering Social Security Numbers by linking with the Idaho Department of Transportation. He did tell me that there exists a FERPA opt out form. I will look into it further. It essentially alerts the system that this students information cannot be used for reports or research. It does not prevent a school from collecting or storing the personal information. I have read the legal agreements we have signed, and the legislative reports, it is very clear that they intend to use the information broken down to the student-level. If you are told otherwise,they are either uninformed, or being misleading."

  • Why Not posted at 5:44 am on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    Why Not Posts: 5326

    Common Core Standards equal:

    Achieved competency metric
    Cost control

    They are copyrighted by the National Governors Assn and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Now I certainly am not an expert on education, but it seems to me that the challenge is to deliver a national baseline measure. The statistical process is daunting and people often get fired up because they don’t understand the process. Focus on the objective(s) rather than the process. Leave the to the stats professionals.

  • voxpop posted at 4:57 am on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Opposing common core is just another right wing/tea party misdirect. Their real goal is the elimination of public education. Just ask Goedde. They don't want to pay for it and don't think it's necessary. And who knows - in Idaho, land of minimum wage, it probably isn't.

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard