Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

The three attitudes of Idaho education

Dick Meeker

I find myself befuddled about how the education industry in Idaho has been allowed to stray so far off the education map and replacing it with the Common Core State Standards.  I commend those who in their own way are speaking out against the Common Core State Standards.  However, what’s disturbing to me are those who are not, (i.e.) administrators, legislators, school boards, superintendents, teachers, (etc.), doing anything about it.  Not knowing why or how this is happening, it appears to me that education in Idaho is all about attitudes, attitudes like: Indifference, Don’t Rock the Boat, or Fear.

My point is based on review of Idaho’s education record and not observing any change(s) to those areas which continue to disrupt our Idaho students’ education, for example reading.  Currently, remedial reading courses are needed by Idaho students attending a college or university in an attempt to make up for what they missed during their K-12 reading experiences in our schools. Why haven’t the changes been made in the K-12 reading programs?  Review of our K-12 reading programs will identify those areas deficient in the programs and dictate the necessary changes needed to enhance and further develop our Idaho students’ comprehension and reading abilities — at the same time curtailing and or eliminating the need for remedial reading courses in college or university here.

When considering the Common Core State Standards being imposed on Idaho’s current educational system, it appears we will be going from bad to worse. However, when I compare the two scholastically, in my estimation it appears we are going from dumb to dumber.  For those who support something as non-educating as the Common Core State Standards, claiming them to be college and career ready, and for those who know the truth about the Common Core State Standards but don’t speak out against them for what ever reason, not even for the kids, shame on you.

Although the Common Core State Standards are promoted as being rigorous and able to make students college and career ready, one of its lead math drafters Dr. Jason Zimba, admitted the Common Core State Standards are designed to prepare students to attend community college level programs only.  In an exchange with Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. Zimba, said it is a fair critique that it is a minimal definition of college readiness used in describing the Common Core Math Standards furthermore, they are not designed to prepare students for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) studies, they are also not designed to get a student into any selective college, even in a non-STEM discipline.”  As an Idaho educator, would you please explain, when the student attends either a college or a university and not a community college, when and where does the student learn the advanced forms of his/her K-12 subjects required for that selected college or university when the Idaho K-12 education implementing the Common Core State Standards is not designed to teach to a higher standard of anything?

Dr. Stotsky, who is considered the nation’s premier expert on ELA standards, makes recommendations for ELA standards, raising the bar on teachers and establishing the foundation for a true English education.  Dr. Stotsky sat on the Common Core Validation Committee for a year, gives the Common Core ELA standards a D, and warns that they will not prepare students for authentic college course work.  Dr. Stotsky also stated that the nature of the Common Core English Language Arts Standards is not content standards – they are skills standards, but they are empty skills standards.  That’s why they have no rigor.  Perhaps those involved in Idaho Education, should consult with Dr. Stotsky, on reforming Idaho’s K-12 education standards, after all she is the leading ELA expert in United States, and her standards are free.  The Common Core State Standards are neither free, nor do they offer any educational value too our students.

  • Idaho is now ranked 48th in the nation.  WHY?
  • 60 percent of our Idaho fourth and eighth graders aren’t proficient in reading and math.  WHY?
  • eighth graders graduating in 2016 won’t be up to the jobs requiring a post-high school education at that time.  WHY?
  • Learning gaps between the haves and have not students is widening and we need to adjust our educational strategies serving our largely rural landscape.  WHY?
  • We rank near the bottom of those states that go beyond a high school education.  WHY?
  • Most Idaho Students who go on to college aren’t prepared.  WHY?
  • Over half enrolling in a 2-year program and 7 in 10 enrolling in 4-year program require costly remediation.  WHY?
  • For every 10 high school freshman in Idaho, only one will graduate from college.   WHY?

This is our return after spending approximately $10,335 billion dollars budgeted from the Idaho General Fund over the past eight years or 48.6 percent of the Idaho General Fund annually during the same eight years.  This type of education is not acceptable nor is the amount of monies that were spent on it.  Education and its cost(s) will go up and not be made better by the Common Core State Standards, which merely double down on the failed progressive education fads that helped create the problems we currently face.

By working together we can stop the Common Core State Standards, implement meaningful and effective education reform, establish a system for local education control in Idaho, and make the monies funding education more accountable.

Let’s start investing in Idaho’s future, and stop spending on our current educational mess.  


Dick Metteer

Dick Metteer is a father of four daughters and a grandfather of 11, ranging in ages from 21 to 8.

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