Fulcher: Idaho should ditch Common Core

Days after Indiana became the first state to opt out of the Common Core standards, Republican gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher vowed to follow suit.

Russ Fulcher
Sen. Russ Fulcher

“As governor of Idaho, I will push for legislation that allows Idaho to opt out of this top-down, one-size-fits-all federal program,” Fulcher, a Meridian state senator, said in a news release Wednesday. “We need to bring control back to Idaho, and empower teachers and parents so they can establish an education system that truly enables our students to excel.”

On Monday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill opting his state out of the multistate standards. While the math and English language arts standards have stirred some controversy in Idaho, there was no concerted effort in the just-completed legislative session to repeal Common Core. Fulcher and other Republicans criticized the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exams, a lengthy online test aligned to Idaho Core Standards — but schools began field testing the SBAC exam this week.

The standards themselves still have vocal support from incumbent Gov. Butch Otter and key legislators, three years after the Legislature’s education committees signed off on them. As a Senate Education Committee member, Fulcher endorsed the Common Core standards when they came up for a vote in 2011.

Fulcher is challenging Otter in the May 20 GOP primary.

Quotes from Fulcher’s Wednesday news release:

“‘I applaud Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and the Indiana State Legislature for their decision to opt out of the federal Common Core education standards. I believe these national standards strip decisions away from parents and teachers and are setting every public school on a path to mediocrity.

“‘As governor of Idaho, I will push for legislation that allows Idaho to opt out of this top-down, one-size-fits-all federal program. We need to bring control back to Idaho, and empower teachers and parents so they can establish an education system that truly enables our students to excel.'”