BOISE -- The already hot topic of education is heating up even more, with many Idaho parents and teachers talking about the new Common Core standards adopted by Idaho schools this year.

The new standards are intended to better prepare students for college and the workforce, but some critics say the standards are too rigid, while others say they're just plain confusing.


I've attended lots and lots of meetings over the last year about Common Core, said Karma Nalder, who has three kids in the Boise School District. I was very interested in it, but I didn't really have an opinion whether it was going to be good or bad. It's been about the last month that I've developed a strong opinion, a negative opinion, regarding the Common Core.

Nalder says one of her kids brought home work with correct answers marked wrong, because the child's process in getting that answer was not what was being taught.

If a student gets to the right answer, it doesn't matter how that student got to the right answer, they should still get credit, said Nalder.

Some other parents from across the nation protested last week, saying the Common Core curriculum is too rigid, and that it relies too heavily on testing and not enough on teaching individual students.


KTVB met with Nalder while she was attending a workshop about Common Core, headed up by Boise State University literacy professor Roger Stewart.

He understands why parents have questions and concerns, but says the Common Core standards can be a great thing for Idaho kids, specifically because they focus on the process, instead of just the answer.

The Common Core has an emphasis on deeper level processing and higher level thinking, said Stewart.

Stewart also balked at the suggestion of some critics that Common Core is too intrusive.

The standards don't really tell teachers how to teach, or even, for that matter, to any great degree, what to teach, he said. There are more outcomes that students or children are to achieve.

Stewart tells KTVB that Common Core is valuable because it provides comprehensive details about how much our kids are learning, compared to kids in other states -- kids that they may be competing against for college and jobs.


In Idaho Common Core standards have had broad-based support from the Governor's education task force, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, and the teacher's union.

But opposition to the standards has been more vocal, and those opposed hope to get the Common Core decision revisited by lawmakers in the next legislation session.

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