Idaho Department of Education opens review of Core Standards

By Sarah Glenn
For the Journal

BOISE –– Is there a specific part of the Idaho Core educational standards that you think could be improved?

Wednesday, the State Department of Education opened up a website where parents, educators and any other stakeholders can give a virtual thumbs up or thumbs down to specific parts of the Idaho Common Core Standards. The web address is http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/idahochallenge.

“This is the first time we will use a platform like this that has a format like this,” Jeff Church, Chief Communications Officer for the Idaho Department of Education said.

The review asks for comment on english language arts and math standards. The state’s science standards were reviewed earlier this year.

The public has until Dec. 15 to participate in the review process. After that date, the comments provided about specific standards will be evaluated by a team of Idaho educators and stakeholders. The team will then make recommendations on any changes to the standards to the Idaho Board of Education.

If there are any changes to the Idaho Core Standards, they would not be implemented in classrooms until next fall, Church said.

Although Common Core standards have come with their own set of controversy nationwide, the Idaho Department of Education is quick to point out that this is not a referendum on the standards themselves.

“…The Idaho Challenge is not intended to be a referendum on the Idaho Core Standards; only comments and actionable recommendations tied to specific standards will be considered,” department officials wrote in a news release issued Wednesday.

Church added that this is a regular review process that parents and teachers can expect to happen every five years.

“Our hope is that we can get as many people involved in this process as we can so that everyone can know on a granular level what’s in those standards,” Church said.

That’s where the website comes in.

The website asks for your role (parent, educator, etc), if you are a resident of Idaho and gives an option to provide an e-mail address. While it does not ask for more detailed personal information, such as a name or address, the privacy policy does make clear that once you submit your comment it is public record and subject to Idaho’s Sunshine Laws.

After providing those basic pieces of information, parents can search for a specific standard by subject and grade level. A Facebook-like thumbs up or down button appears next to each standard. Give the standard a thumbs up and a message appears thanking you for your input. Give a thumbs down and you will be asked to provide more details.

For example, the standards say that kindergarten students must know how to “Recognize and produce rhyming words, count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words and blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable spoken words.”

If you disagree with any of these requirements, or think they need a little refining, you can write a quick summary about why.

If you believe a new standard needs to be created, you can click “Suggest a New Standard” in the footer of each page to submit an email with your suggestion.

“We would love to have a plethora of conversations being held around these standards,” Church said. “We want this to be as much of a collaborative process as we can.”

The Idaho Core Standards for literacy and mathematics were adopted in 2011 and implemented by teachers across the state over the past several years. The review will be called the Idaho Standards for Learning Challenge (Idaho Challenge), and is designed to challenge stakeholders to read the standards and then provide specific, actionable feedback on any particular standard.

To review what your child is accountable for learning under the standards, visit http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/content_standards/

The effort is part of a normal review process of all of Idaho’s academic standards.

Leave a Reply