When the Senate Education Committee nodded their approval late Monday afternoon for the Common Core State Standards, Superintendent Luna issued a press release proclaiming, “This is a great day for Idaho students. By implementing Common Core State Standards, we can ensure every student graduates from high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce, and once there, does not need remediation.”
No doubt, these new standards will help Idaho students be better prepared for the future. But the adoption of the standards does come with a price tag, and no one is sure what it is. That's especially troubling since Mr. Luna has also introduced a sweeping plan to overhaul many other aspects of Idaho's educational system with only a vague sense of how he – and we – will pay for it.
Idaho Education Association members stand firmly for higher academic standards in our schools. In testimony last week before the Senate Education Committee, IEA President Sherri Wood told legislators, “Members of the IEA have long advocated for high quality educational standards to help ensure students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.
“While we acknowledge the common core standards are an important first step toward providing Idaho K-12 students with a high-quality education, their implementation comes at a cost. Without the necessary funding to ensure proper implementation, these standards will do little to help our state's children prepare to compete with their peers across the country and around the world.
“Classroom teachers, building administrators, and education support professionals will play a vital role in the successful implementation of these standards,” she added. “These new standards must be accompanied by adequate and sustainable financial support.”
Now that the standards have been adopted, the State Department of Education reported that it will begin working with local school districts to offer professional development for Idaho teachers in throughout 2011 and 2012. The new standards will be taught in Idaho classrooms beginning in the fall of 2013.
During last Friday's historic Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee public hearing, President Wood again asked about adequate funding for the standards, noting,”We're concerned that Mr. Luna is underestimating the costs of an important reform effort that's already under way.”
“Members of the committee: You need to ask how Mr. Luna plans to adequately fund the Common Core Standards, because right now, they look like another unfunded mandate to our local districts,” she added.