A Cottonwood teacher — and opponent of the new Idaho Core Standards — is jumping into the Republican field for state superintendent.
John Eynon filed paperwork Friday naming a campaign treasurer, a precursor to raising money for a race.
His campaign website — emblazoned with the slogan, “Common Sense, NOT Common Core” — leaves no question about his signature issue. Eynon describes himself as a “public school teacher and education professional.” He describes the Idaho Core Standards as unproven and a federal “overreach” into Idaho classrooms.
“Common Core is the Democrat Party platform,” says Eynon. “So, when it comes to Idaho education do we only have one party represented?”
The Idaho Core Standards in math and English language arts have broad support within GOP circles. State superintendent Tom Luna supports the standards, and was one of a group of state education officials who began crafting the standards in November 2007. Luna is not seeking re-election. Republican Gov. Butch Otter supports the standards, as do the chairmen of the Senate and House education committees. But some Republican lawmakers want the Legislature to take another look at the standards, three years after approving them.
On other issues, Eynon says safety and security have taken a back seat to hooking up WiFi in schools; Luna has engineered a multiyear contract to hook up most Idaho high schools and junior high schools with WiFi. Eynon also says that the state’s longitudinal data system is compromising student privacy.
Eynon lists his mailing address as Grangeville, but he teaches music, choir, drama and band at the Cottonwood School District’s Prairie Junior-Senior High School. According to his campaign website, Eynon is a native of the Philadephia area and a retired U.S. Navy commander. He says he has lived in Idaho County since 1995.
Another Republican who last week joined the May 20 GOP primary is Randy Jensen, a 25-year principal at American Falls’ William Thomas Middle School. “What I bring to this office is trust and confidence,” Jensen said in a news release. “This is a critical time for education in Idaho and having a proven educational leader to lead the state’s educational system is a must.”
Democrat Jana Jones, who narrowly lost to Luna in 2006, has announced her plans to run again.