Business leader makes appeal for Idaho Core

Self-proclaimed “computer tech guy” Bob Lokken talked education Thursday during the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce’s legislative forum. And he made a plea to Idaho lawmakers.

“I respect your doubts about Idaho Core Standards, but if you have doubts, ask questions,” Lokken said. “Get to the bottom of what is true and what’s not. You have the power and authority — so make up your own mind.”

Bob Lokken
Bob Lokken

Lokken, CEO of WhiteCloud Analytics, and Meridian School District Superintendent Linda Clark spoke at the annual event held at the Boise Centre on the Grove. The luncheon was at capacity, and attendees included most of the state’s 105 lawmakers, Gov. Butch Otter and Lt. Gov. Brad Little.

Lokken spoke on behalf of Idaho’s business community, which he says fully supports Idaho’s new Idaho Core Standards. These standards, approved by lawmakers in 2011, will likely be revisited and debated during the 2014 legislative session.

Lokken said America has shifted from an agriculture- and industry-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, changing the nature of the work force.

“We have an oversupply of workers without an education, which keeps salaries down in that group, and we have an undersupply of workers with an education and that keeps their salaries up,” Lokken said.

Idaho’s average wages are the worst in the nation, he continued, “because of supply and demand. We need to redefine education and it starts with new standards.”

Lokken, vice chair of Idaho Business for Education, was a member of the Governor’s Taskforce for Improving Education. The IBE has formed a coalition of supporters for Idaho Core Standards.

“Our old standards were built for a different time and a different era,” Lokken said. “It’s time to set the bar higher.”

Clark agreed lawmakers should support Idaho Core Standards, and the task force’s 19 other recommendations.

“Embrace the recommendations and develop a long-term strategic plan to implement them,’’ said Clark, a task force member. “We need to move away from the year-to-year, session-to-session approach to move forward in education.”

The Boise chamber presented its legislative agenda, and it included support for Idaho Core Standards.

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