Common Core constitutional questions (UPDATED)

(UPDATED, 2:04 p.m., with comments from Luna spokeswoman Melissa McGrath.)

Tom Luna took the case for Common Core to Coeur d’Alene Thursday.

And the superintendent of public instruction heard some feedback on 10th Amendment issues.

Tom Luna
Tom Luna

Luna — who defends the Idaho Core Standards as the product of a voluntary, state-led initiative — restated a familiar argument during his meeting with Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. Common Core does not represent a national curriculum and does not establish national testing. And under the 10th Amendment, the federal government has limited say over education policy.

Here’s a summary of the back and forth, as reported in the Coeur d’Alene Press.

“The 10th Amendment makes it clear that unless the Constitution gives the federal government the right or the authority explicitly, then that right or authority rests with the states or the people,” Luna said. “So, the federal government does not have a role or a responsibility to be involved in education.”

From Coeur d’Alene School Board member Ann Seddon: “I think the thing people are concerned about is that a structure, a system will be in place for when the federal government wants to move in … not just saying to us, ‘You must,’ but ‘We’re going to tell you what the standards are,’ because you just said they already are telling us we must have standards. It’s that failure of the 10th Amendment.”

Luna conceded that the 10th Amendment has been trampled, by Republican and Democratic administrations alike, but maintained that Common Core is a state-led effort.

In an email Friday, Luna spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said Seddon and Luna were in agreement — and said Thursday’s audience was on Luna’s side. “The vast majority of people there were very supportive; they just had questions. I believe in (Seddon’s) quote she was reiterating his point not disagreeing with him.”

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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