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Idaho schools superintendent talks common core standards

Idaho schools superintendent talks common core standards

REXBURG, Idaho - "Common Core Standards" is a term being thrown around a lot lately.

Many are convinced it's the federal government trying to take over education for the 280,000 students in Idaho. 

State Superintendent Tom Luna said it will re-shape education in the state but ultimately, local school districts still have control.

Right now, 45 states have common core standards. 

Core standards aren't new to Idaho schools -- they've been around for more than a decade. 

Luna said they've allowed comparison between schools across Idaho. 

"Working with other states, Idaho has voluntarily chosen to have standards that are common with other states so that we can compare how our students are doing academically," said Luna. 

What started out as a conversation between 5 states, quickly grew into 45. 

Each state can decide which subjects have a common core standard. In Idaho, it will only be English and math. 

"You have a number of schools that implemented these core standards this year and they have different curriculums, different textbooks," said Luna. "There's not a list that you have to choose from."

Luna says 47 percent of Idaho students pursue higher education and 38 percent of them don't go on after their first year. 

He said common core could help with that. 

"You end up in Idaho with an adult population where only 39 percent of the adults have some form of post-high school degree or certificate," said Luna. "Well, 60 percent of the jobs today require more than just a high school diploma."

The state adopted common core standards in January 2011 and the last two years have served as a phase-in period. 

This fall, all K-12 schools will follow those standards.

There was one woman at Luna's presentation that spoke in opposition to common core standards. She said she was a former school board member for Madison County and that common core would require new curricula and textbooks, but there's no money for it after all the state cutbacks to education.

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