Labrador’s Common Core cone of silence

It seemed like a simple request, and a valid idea.

Last Friday, Idaho Education News decided to canvas Idaho’s congressional delegation about Common Core State Standards — the math and English language arts standards that will go into effect in Idaho in the fall.

Raul Labrador
Rep. Raul Labrador

It’s not a random request, considering the growing national controversy surrounding Common Core. The Republican National Committee has come out against the standards, and all four members of the Idaho congressional delegation are Republicans. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote a letter urging Senate appropriators to block federal spending on Common Core, and he invited Senate colleagues to sign on.

Idaho Education News heard back from three-fourths of the delegation. Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Mike Simpson said they considered Common Core a state-driven initiative, effectively deferring to Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and legislators and State Board of Education appointees who backed the plan. Sen. Jim Risch labeled Common Core a federal mandate — and while he didn’t sign Grassley’s letter, Risch said he supported its intent and the RNC resolution.

That leaves one member of the delegation who has kept mum: the one member of the delegation who, according to the hot political rumor from earlier in the year, was contemplating a run for governor.

Labrador spokesman Michael Tate said he was working on a response to Idaho Education News’ inquiry. That was Tuesday. No word since then.

Is Labrador keeping quiet on this sensitive issue because he is still considering a run for the governor’s job, and he doesn’t want to box himself into a position?

Or is Labrador keeping quiet because he is focusing on the immigration reform issue — where the former immigration lawyer enjoys a national profile?

Either way, we’re at seven days and counting on this inquiry.

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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