Elaine King, a former educator from Sugar City, Idaho recently wrote a letter to the local paper encouraging readers to contact legislators and voice their “shared” concerns about Idaho’s high, comparable standards and aligned assessments. As Ms. King expressed in her piece, “It appears that the majority of parents and teachers are opposed to Common Core and the SBAC testing.”
As Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once pointed out, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” To that end, we present a few facts disputing Ms. King’s opinion that the majority of people in Idaho are against the use of high, comparable standards.
The Idaho House Education Committee recently approved minor changes to the state’s standards in English, math, social studies, physical education, health, computer science, and arts and humanities. Updating and reviewing the academic standards is nothing new and the State Department of Education (SDE) participates by convening a working committee of educators to review the standards.
Of the nearly 6,400 comments collected by the SDE about the current standards used, “83 percent of responses on the English standards were positive. For math standards, that number came in at 90 percent.” That probably isn’t the majority that Ms. King expected.
In addition to the public comments collected, 10 teachers and one professor spoke in favor of Idaho’s standards. No one spoke against them at the committee meeting. The teachers who spoke, like others before them, shared with attendees that many of the comments or myths perpetuated online or on talk radio don’t reflect their experiences with the standards, “We’ve seen so many social media posts that are so far from what’s going on in my classroom,” math teacher Meg Rowe said.
Scott Cooke, Idaho’s Director of Academic Services at SDE added, “After all the discussions about retina scans and Obamacare and data mining and sex ed, when we looked at the words on the page, there was widespread support for higher education standards that point students toward command of literacy and command of numeracy.”
Those views are consistent with the polling we see that shows most parents and teachers strongly support rigorous academic expectations that prepare students for college and careers. Idaho has been a key leader in implementing high, comparable standards based on teamwork, transparency, and inclusion. It’s no wonder then that the real majority of Idahoans want to keep them in place.