Meridian hosts 'Common Core' town hall meeting

Meridian hosts 'Common Core' town hall meeting

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by KTVB.COM

KTVB.COM

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 17 at 7:07 PM

BOISE -- Are you and your child ready for Idaho's Common Core State Standards when they're adopted this fall?

Do you know what the Common Core Standards are?

Parents, teachers, administrators, and the public were invited to attend a Meridian town hall meeting to get those questions answered Monday night from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and a panel of experts.

"Idaho has had core standards in math and English for over 10 years," said Luna. "What we have done is increased these standards considerably."

Across the nation 45 states have chosen to participate in the implementation of Common Core. It's a new way to prepare students for college and the workforce by getting them to think critically and learn through discovery.

Idaho's legislative leaders decided in 2011 to adopt these standards for math and English.

Some schools are already using the methods.

"And so we have been working with school districts and teachers for the better part of two years preparing to implement these," said Luna.

But not everyone is sold on Common Core.

Stephanie Zimmerman a mother of eight started the grassroots organization Idahoans for Local Education with Stacey Knudsen and others. Their mission is to remove Common Core from Idaho's schools.

"We are losing our state sovereignty," said Zimmerman. "These standards have never been tested. It's called data list decision-making. We are using our kids as guinea pigs."

She says as the other states have rolled out Common Core, parents have taken notice and issue with it.

"The more you learn about Common Core and the things that we have signed onto, and the things we have committed to Common Core, it just gets more concerning," said Zimmerman.

But Luna maintains there are just too many misconceptions about the standards.

First, he says it's not federally funded or mandated.

"What impact is this having on our schools?" said Luna. "Is it limiting their curriculum choices? Is it forcing them to teach concepts that they aren't comfortable with? Is it forcing textbooks or lesson plans on them? And I think you will find the answer is no."

Many concerned Idahoans filled a meeting room at Meridian City Hall.

Following the town hall forum Luna said he hoped the discussion cleared up the confusion, while Zimmerman and Knudsen push forward with their mission.

"We are combining our efforts and using what skills we have as moms, and doing a ton of research and trying to let people know this is a direction we don't want Idaho to go in," said Knudsen.

Every school across the Gem State will adopt the standards, something that was set in motion when the state adopted them back in 2010.

For a full breakdown of the state's new Common Core Program, see the Idaho Department of Education's informational Common Core Standards web page.

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