Tom Luna vs. Glenn Beck?

Maybe not exactly.

But sort of.

Tom Luna

State Superintendent Tom Luna

In defending one of Tom Luna’s key initiatives — Idaho Core Standards, or “common core” — spokeswoman Melissa McGrath calls out conservative pundit Glenn Beck for spreading “misinformation” about the initiative to establish uniform math and English language arts standards.

McGrath decried the misinformation in an email sent to Idaho reporters this morning.

Here’s the chronology.

On March 14, Beck devoted his talk show to common core as a leftist movement that would devastate public education.

“Progressives have jammed this through in the dead of night,” Beck said. “Beside being dumber, our kids are going to be indoctrinated with extreme leftist ideology. We will not save our country unless we save it first from this attack.”

The next morning, the state Department of Education received eight to 10 emails criticizing common core — an unusually high volume on one topic, McGrath told Idaho Education News Tuesday, and all based on false information.

“(Beck’s concerns) are similar to myths being perpetuated across the country by outside interest groups that do not fully understand these standards or how they were developed,” McGrath said in an email to Idaho Education News. “We worked to address each person’s concerns individually and explain that the information they heard was not accurate.”

The common core standards were developed by officials from several states. Luna was involved in this process. Idaho is one of 45 states adopting the standards.

Here is the text of McGrath’s email to Idaho reporters:

“I wanted to make you aware of some misinformation that is being spread about the new Idaho Core Standards, which were adopted as a result of the state-led effort known as the Common Core State Standards Initiative. 

“You or your newsroom may have received some e-mails or phone calls from individuals who have this misinformation or myths about these new standards. I wanted to provide you with some of these myths and facts so you can be sure to provide accurate information in your reporting. The most recent misinformation was spread by Glenn Beck on an episode of his show earlier this month. Also, national interest groups have developed a ‘Keep Education Local’ template website that has been duplicated in almost every state now and contains misinformation about the standards.

The most popular myth is that these are ‘national’ standards that were developed by President Obama and his administration and are now being applied in states across the country. This is not true. These were developed by several states working together. They have now been voluntarily adopted by 45 states, including Idaho. The federal government was never involved in the development of these standards, nor have they made it a requirement in any way for states to adopt these standards.”

Click here and here for two recent Education Department blog posts on Idaho Core Standards.

  • M. Anne Liebenthal

    In the case of Idaho, I see a lot of evidence that the CCSS raise the bar in comparison with ISAT standards. I hope that all Idaho localities will accept the higher minimum expectations of students. In any case, the CCSS only empower us to help students stretch to meet their potentials and emerge more capable of competing for adult opportunities, from my perspective, here in the trenches. Not an enthusiastic fan of Luna nor of Beck, I am increasingly enthusiastic about the Common Core, relative to previous Idaho standards.

  • Brenda Vest

    Ms. McGrath states, “that concerns/myths are fueled by groups that do not fully understand these standards and how they were developed.” I would like to pose the following…as patriots, teachers, parents, and fellow citizens, shouldn’t this program be EXPLAINED so we can UNDERSTAND prior to it being utilized to educate our children and grandchildren?

    Please note that Ms McGrath fails to clarify any details about this program that now permeates 45 of our state educational systems while declaring that Beck and other concerned groups spread myths and untruths.

    Ms. McGrath, Glenn Beck has NEVER stated that this program was developed by the President (Obama) or his administration. I have heard him state that Gov. Jeb Bush is a supporter. Therefore, your attempt to imply that this is a Democrat vs Replubican issue is inaccurate.

    Additionally, I have done research and reading about Common Core and all pro sites declare that the Federal Government is not connected in the development and/or implementation. (Comments are expressed in all capital letters….ever heard the reference, thou doth protest too much?) that aside, I would like you to answer the following question – “Is federal funding for state education linked to implementation of this program?”

    • Laurie Burnell

      Yes. i would like to know the answer to that question. Let us start there. There is a program on today at 3PM. I would like our representatives to watch the program and respond to the claims. Please do not quote the handouts from the developers of Core Curriculum – that is promotional information.

    • Melissa McGrath

      Thank you for your comment. No federal funding that Idaho receives is tied in any way to the adoption of these academic standards. As with all academic standards, the adoption of these standards was completely voluntary on the part of the State of Idaho. The e-mail I sent to reporters yesterday did not attempt to provide full explanation of the academic standards; however, I did provide links to more detailed information available on our blog at:


  • mike morrison

    This Common Core curriculum is pure Statist Propoganda. Do not take anybody elses opinion on this matter as fact. The Data mining alone in this program is absolutely unbelieveable. Do your own homework and get involved in your childrens future or the Statists will do it for you. The great state of Texas is beginning to fight this tooth and nail.

    Some examples…..2nd graders –learning about Al Gore and his” Rescue Mission Planet earth
    and Agenda 21.”

    heres a link …Make up your own mind–communism-and-capitalism-for-6th-grade.aspx

    Former teachers speak out ..

    Wake up.

    • Paul Bunnell

      Mike, good work! I appreciate your comment.

  • Byron Heath

    Glenn Beck is wildly misinformed about the Common Core Standards. As a teacher who has been preparing to implement the CCSS in my classroom for two years, I can say that it is a huge improvement over the ISAT. While the ISAT essentially tests rote memorization skills, the CCSS requires analysis and lateral thinking skills.
    This is the first time I’ve heard “liberal” associated with the test, and I’ve been preparing for this transition for two years now, so I hardly think it was “rammed through in the dead of night”.

    • Anne Liebenthal

      I second this statement. Our high school English department is currently collaborating with the middle school in our implementation of CCSS and I believe all departments are doing likewise.

      I have both taught in, and had my own children educated in various school districts in various states and countries, Texas not being one of them. In an economy where parents are forced to uproot their children in order to survive financially, a uniformity of expectations by the schools is extremely beneficial to a smoother transition for kids. I neither know about Texas, nor about ALL the districts in this state, but for our students, the bar is raised by CCSS. One transfer sophomore agrees that he considered CCSS from the state wherein he previously lived to be superior to ISAT, and gave compelling evidence that the CCSS provides deeper education, partly due to the wise scope and sequence in CCSS.

      A zombie apocalypse poses the same threat as CCSS does.

    • Jake Chapple

      This all any of you ever say! NO ONE will provide proof ANY proof to contradict evidence found on the US Dept. of Educations own website. You all say, ‘nope, it’s fine.’ and expect us to just take your word for it? What is it teachers say? Parents aren’t involved in their child’s education, or something like that? Of the teachers I know, I wouldn’t let my children spend 5 minutes with them.

  • Phil Evans

    I would encourage everyone to study this and determine for yourself. You can watch what Beck is saying free with a free trial subscription. It is worth seeing what he is saying and study both sides of the issue. Here are some links. I will say that I am a pretty vocal supporter of Tom Luna, but I am not sure he is right on this. I am still learning…



    * (This youtube channel has lots of videos)

    *! (This youtube channel has lots of videos)


    * Understand what the term statewide ” Longitudinal Data System ” means. Called “ISEE” in Idaho (

    * (free trial)

  • Tauna Christensen

    Glenn Beck: “Glenn explained that in order for states to qualify for stimulus money, they had to agree to build such systems according to federally dictated standards. The 2009 Stimulus Bill included provisions encouraging states to develop data systems for collecting a large amount of information on public-school kids. Today, all 50 states either maintain or are capable of maintaining extensive databases on public-school students.” : “The Idaho State Department of Education has deployed the Idaho System for Educational Excellence (ISEE), a K-12 Longitudinal Data System that supports our budgeting processes, streamlines data submissions, and delivers information to educational stakeholders to facilitate data driven decisions. The ISEE is funded in part by a three-year Federal grant…”

    Especially love this treasure from the Beck piece:

    “Many parents might think that the government needs their permission to gather the information to go into these databases, but that’s actually not the case.”

    “The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act used to protect the privacy of kids and a parents written consent was needed to release data. But in 2012, regulations were used to change the need to get parental consent. Now all the information the schools started collecting in 2009 can be shared among various federal agencies and without consent as long as whoever requests it is ‘conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school’. According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income and family voting status along with religious affiliation and extra curricular activity, and more…” I was unaware of this — and as a parent, I am NOT thrilled about it AT ALL.

    My sentiments exactly Phil Evans, both about Luna and still learning…

  • Ryan McGill

    Common Core was created by the Gates Foundation. It was pushed on the states.

    There is no evidence or research supporting CCSS will improve public education.

    Do not compare CCSS to ISAT testing. They are of the same useless thread. They are created, without parent or educator input, and pushed onto students of the states.

    CCSS will not improve learning. CCSS will not revolutionize anything.

    Tests will accompany CCSS and somehow these tests will be connected to the tech giants and they will create profits from public schools.

    The ‘CCSS tests’ (whatever form they will take) will show that students are not doing any better and then we’ll be convinced that the failure is the entire public school system.

    All of this is a drive to continue the privatization of public schools.

    Charter schools, private schools, and home schooled kids will not be subjected to the CCSS. They will have their own approved assessments and their performance data will not be compared to the public schools. They will be exempt from CCSS and it battery of tests.

    The more the schools appear to fall behind the more ‘caring’ parents will pull their children out of public school and into alternative education systems. As this happens the best parents and the best students will be siphoned off by charter and private schools and ‘the rest’ will remain in public schools. CCSS is just another tool to divide public schools.

    School Choice is the new segregation.
    Opt your children out of standardized tests.

    Common Core State Standards will not meet the needs of our diverse economic needs. If we are to do anything to improve public education we need to diversify our approach and offer dozens of unique classes to thousands of interested students. We need to diversify our calendars and offer classes at different intervals. Our school campuses need to be shining symbols of opportunity in the communities of Idaho. They need to attract the best students, parents, and teachers. They need to be respected places with high academic expectations.

    We need to stop starving our education system and stop applying ‘so called fixes’ like the CCSS to our public schools.

    Acceleration of standardization will not improve Idaho’s public education.

    Ryan McGill

    • Anne Liebenthal

      Their being of the same thread is the argument FOR comparing CCSS to ISAT. There are pros and cons to standardized testing, but for public schools there is no choice so far as opting out goes. Atlanta seems to need something to maintain integrity, just as inner cities seem to need something to address armed criminals. In this part of the country, needs are different, and gun control poses a real threat to ranchers and others. Because Idaho teachers are so dedicated with the rare anomaly, current standardized tests often detract from, more than they add to, the quality and depth of learning; they require tremendous time and effort which could be better invested towards in-depth learning, which may be less important to some “educators” than it is to Idaho educators. Assuming that at least for Idaho schools standardized testing is an evil, then it is a necessary evil, due to a miniscule minority of unprincipled educators. Assuming standardized testing is an evil, CCSS is the lesser of two.

  • Sam Wadsworth

    I don’t have a lot of time to serf dozens of web sites, blogs etc. Reading over the comments was quite enlightening. Some of what you say is true. There are those who have definite political agendas. When has this been news? If you don’t think Glen Beck has a political agenda then you are up in the night. This is what dismays me the most. Educational decisions are rarely made in light of how the human brain learns, the needs of learners, or even what we know works. Educational decisions are frequently (usually) based on political ideology and popular opinion. While this is true more or less with all professions, it is particularly true in education. Glen Beck doesn’t know anything about education neither do 98% of our legislators. This is why valuable legislative time was spent debating whether cursive writing should be taught in our schools and whether “Atlas Shrugged” should be required reading.

    The Common Core State Standards are unprecedented and in an overall sense a smart move. High stakes testing is not and is in fact educationally detrimental. Data mining is a political decision and is a completely separate issue from whether the CCSS should be implemented or not. Piloting the CCSS would have been a smart move but not politically expedient.

    As for the CCSS being a statist plot? It appears our friend Mike needs to be educate on the difference between standards and curriculum. Standards indicate the endpoint- what the student will know or be able to do at the end of the year. Curriculum is how you get to that end point. An example of a standard might be: The student will eat three healthy meals a day. An example of curriculum aligning to that standard might be: For lunch today the student will eat a PB&J sandwich, a glass of milk with an apple slice. Curriculum is quiet flexible. For instance the students could have been served a chef salad instead. Both would meet the standard.

    Typically the state determines the standard. The school district determines the curriculum. If some school is actually teaching 2nd graders about Al Gore and his “Rescue Mission Planet earth
    and Agenda 21,” that would be a local decision and has nothing to do with the CCSS. Trust me. I’ve read them.

    • Jennie L. Winter


      I agree with your comments abut Glen Beck. I think it is unfortunate that those who are protesting CCSS have used his conspiracy theories as a basis to do so; however, data mining has been referred to as “the glue that holds CCSS together.” I am concerned that the Department of Education was able to change the FERPA law to facilitate the “needs” of CCSS. Thus weakening it and making HIPPA useless as well. A mental health professional addresses this subject here:

      Another informative site:

    • Jake Chapple

      Then there should be no issue in publishing the curriculum for parents to see. Feel free to educate us at any time.

      • K. Coles

        Go to the state department of education to see and read ALL the common core standards. They ARE online. As for the curriculum, you will need to go to your local school district to see what programs they have adopted. Generally all you need to do is look at your kids textbooks. This is usually the main component in the “curriculum” adopted by each local district. It is a LOCAL decision.

        For heaven’s sake people, how many of you complaining about common core have actually READ through them? Read them–they ARE currently online–on the state website. There is absolutely NOTHING nefarious about them. TESTING them, however, is perhaps a SEPARATE issue. I for one do NOT agree with high stakes testing of these standards. Depending on the test, it could “punish” good public schools by showing poor student test performance. THIS is the real issue. The standards are fine. The TESTING of those standards should be the main concern. One high stakes test is a VERY poor indicator of school and student performance (this part is just a rehash of the failed NCLB standards). If supposed “poor” test results are used to further undermine and destroy public education, we should all be concerned. That is why the testing mechanism for common core should have been fully reviewed, piloted and evaluated BEFORE it is fully implemented. This should be the concern for everyone. Please stop whining about the actual standards, though, until you have actually read them!

      • Mary Madsen

        Mr. Chapple, no one is stopping you. If you have questions or concerns, it is your responsibility to do the research. There is plenty of information out there and it’s easily accessible. Do yourself a favor and look for unbiased, factual information.

    • Adolph Connard

      I had a Sam Wadsworth as a teacher at Buhl High School, 1976. In spite of me being a trouble maker, he gave me a very fair shake. Mr. Wadsworth was a good guy…

  • sharon fisher

    The whole way the Common Core standards got adopted is something I’d like to hear more about. It seemed to come from the GOP side, then all of a sudden conservatives got uptight about it and started declaring it came from the Democratic side. How exactly did this come about? Did someone on the GOP side not get the memo or something?

  • Sam Wadsworth


    That’s my dad. I’ll drop him a line and see if he remembers you.

    • Adolph Connard

      Thanks Sam. He taught a business course that year, as well as leading a DECCA group. He’s got a great heart!