Common Core + SBAC Tests = Eternal Life
By Rep. Ronald Nate
President Ronald Reagan once said something like this, “The closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program.” Hello, Common Core. I even recall before Common Core sneaked into Idaho through a “rule change” how parents and kids were promised by then Superintendent, Tom Luna, “If we don’t like Common Core, we can undo it.” If it were only that simple.
For over 10 years now, concerned parents, teachers, and kids have been frustrated by Common Core standards and curriculum, and perhaps even more by the SBAC test coming with Common Core. Every year in the legislature, parents and others come to the Capitol to try to get Common Core eliminated and the onerous testing ended. All to no avail.
Last year, in the 2020 legislative session, we got close. The House passed H65, a bill to remove Common Core as state standards. The Senate, however, was not so courageous. Instead, the Senate wanted an interim committee formed and given the charge of removing and replacing Common Core, and SBAC testing.
Unfortunately, the committee makeup and control of the agenda did not allow for “remove and replace.” Ultimately, Idaho seems stuck with Common Core – Slightly Revised. The committee settled for revisions and rewrites to some of the standards and still doesn’t think Common Core is ready for full removal. It is disappointing to say the least.
This year I drafted two pieces of legislation. Neither would be controversial if the interim committee followed its directive. One proposal, RS28170, removes Common Core mandates on school districts. It merely says that, if the state insists on keeping Common Core state standards, then the district may ignore Common Core and choose other standards. The second proposal, RS28176, removes the SBAC testing requirement. It says, if the state uses SBAC testing content as the ISAT test, then the district may substitute another test of its choosing.
If the interim committee had done its assigned task (remove Common Core and SBAC) test, then both proposals would be easy to pass and would simply be a redundant to the actions already taken. Nobody would have a reason to oppose the proposals, and the committee chair would be fine with letting the bills go forward.
So, why won’t the Chairman of the House Education Committee even allow the introduction and votes on the two proposals? The truth is, all that’s really being done are rewrites of some Common Core standards, and keeping the SBAC test as still the method of assessing progress (a bad measure itself). The two proposals would indeed have an impact because, so far, the state has not eliminated Common Core or SBAT testing. These proposals are problematic for the Common Core status quo.
If you’re as frustrated as I am and as many parents, teachers, and kids are, please contact your representatives and senators to encourage them to remove Common Core and SBAC once and for all–hear the bills! You can find your legislators’ contact information here. You can also email House Education Committee Chairman, Rep. Lance Clow.
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