By Ben Velderman
BOISE, Idaho – It’s been a rough summer for Common Core supporters.
There are legislative efforts in several states to repeal the new English and math learning standards, and more on the way. Lawmakers in Indiana and Pennsylvania have paused the implementation of Common Core, while Michigan legislators have effectively de-funded it.
That’s not the case in Idaho. Not only is Common Core still standing in the Gem State, but teachers will begin using the new standards when classes start up in the fall, reports CDAPress.com.
Still, state education leaders aren’t taking any chances.
A new, pro-Common Core coalition – known as Idahoans for Excellence in Education – was officially announced on Tuesday, and it’s raising a lot of eyebrows.
The coalition features unlikely alliances between business leaders, school administrators and union activists, notes the IdahoStatesman.com.
The coalition’s goal is to “support the successful implementation of the Idaho Core Standards” – the state’s version of Common Core, reports CDAPress.com.
That means the Idaho Education Association and the union’s longtime rival, Idaho Superintendent Tom Luna, are working together to defend Common Core from critics.
“We are always willing to work with anyone who puts the best interests of children first,” said Melissa McGrath, who serves as Luna’s spokeswoman.
The only thing more surprising than the unlikely alliances is the group’s utter certainty that Common Core will lead to improved learning for Idaho students.
Common Core has never been field tested anywhere in the U.S. That means defenders of the new standards are guessing that this switch will lead to more student learning. But that’s only a guess – a big guess.
Common Core’s detractors have a lot of questions about how the standards will take decision-making power away from local school boards and state lawmakers, and how much this latest K-12 fad will cost taxpayers – among other concerns.
Just don’t expect Idahoans for Excellence in Education to address any of those concerns. They’ll only acknowledge the inevitable problems after Common Core has been cemented in place all throughout the nation’s schools.
One would expect top business and education leaders to fully research a plan before giving it their full endorsement and working to silence skeptics. Their behavior isn’t what one would expect from thoughtful, successful people.
But like we said, it’s been a rough summer for Common Core supporters. They’re not interested in debate – only in circling the wagons.