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Idaho bill to replace content standards in public schools moves to the Senate

Part of the new standards includes reducing the number of standards, less complex verbiage, and making certain standards requiring problem-solving age-appropriate.

BOISE, Idaho — Legislation that would rewrite Idaho education standards passed house committee Monday with a 66-3 vote.

Representative Lance Clow, the chairman of the House education committee said the changes are known as “Idaho Content Standards” would not make a huge difference from current standards, but the new ones will upgrade the old.

“Common core really raised the bar and the question is did we raise the bar too fast too high,” Clow said. “These standards on English language arts and math they've been around for twelve years so they are not brand-new standards that are being rejected.”

House bill 716, would replace English language arts, mathematics, and science standards with new ones. The second piece of legislation to remove current standards is House Concurrent Resolution HCR39.

“Kids now are being taught how to do division four or five different ways and they were expected to learn these and then given homework assignments to go home to their parents saying 'what is this?'” Clow said.

Part of the new mathematical standards includes reducing the number of standards, using less complex verbiage, and making certain standards requiring problem-solving, age-appropriate.

“The concepts that we want kids to learn are the same, it’s how you word it,” he said. “We think these are going to be easier to read for parents out there.”

According to Clow several education groups including the Idaho Education Association, The Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of Superintendents supported the passage of both bills.  However, three lawmakers voted no, including Representative Sally Toone, from District 26.

 “I looked at those standards, I mean they're okay, we rewrote the science standards to allow for better language, to call climate change, it’s now called climate variability, it may or may not be human-caused, it allows for two sides of a story and that's what every educator should be doing,” Toone said.

According to Toone, she believes the new curriculum will cost more than $375,000 and she’s concerned that both bills will not pass together.

“Teachers, we wrote them, we kind of adjusted it in 2021, they weren't quite fine-tuned so then they hired another group to do it which there is the question when that second group came back in on the process, they didn't get through the rulemaking and so they weren't adopted by the state board of education and rules,” Toone said.

“I’m not against the standards, the new ones reflect our world better but because there was some difference in them, it’s going to cost money to re-align that curriculum.”

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