Common Core, Citizen Resolution

Filed in Uncategorized by on March 13, 2015 2 Comments

March 12, 2015
Dear Governor Otter and Honorable Members of the Idaho House and Senate:
In a recent news article appearing in the Idaho Education News, you, Governor Otter, were quoted as saying “We’ve overcome most of the resistance to (Common Core),…” implying that all public concerns about Common Core have been adequately addressed. Herein, we are submitting a resolution signed by more than thirty (30) different citizen organizations,
representing more than 20,000 members across the state, who disagree with that conclusion.

For the past two years, the citizens of Idaho have been trying to get the legislature to listen to our concerns about Common Core and the SBAC test, in particular. Over time our concerns have continued to grow and despite ongoing letters, phone calls, emails and personal visits to legislative offices, we’ve had very little success in getting the attention this issue deserves.

There were two separate bills presented to two different committees this legislative session that would have adequately addressed our concerns about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the SBAC test. The fact that neither of these two bills, HB65 and S1085, have been allowed a committee hearing is a clear indication that those in leadership positions are
hindering the progress of these bills and thereby refusing to hear the voices of the people who elect them and pay their salaries. This is to advise you that the signers of the enclosed resolution are very serious about our participation in the process of self government and want S1085 to be brought to a fair and open public hearing during this legislative session.

Despite the fact that we are not at all happy with the effective non-response that has been demonstrated by legislative leadership on this issue, we have conducted ourselves with respect for the office and for the process and feel compelled to remind you that such respect is a two way street. So, we respectfully ask that you honor our request by granting us the hearing we desire. In doing so, you will show that you still believe that the People are valued participants in a government OF the People, BY the People and FOR the People.


Russell Smerz, Coalition Coordinator

Idaho’s Conservative Coalition


We, the undersigned, are asking the Legislature to hold hearings on S1085 or similar legislation to end Idaho’s  participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test. Despite our ongoing efforts to bring  these important issues before the relevant legislative committees for an open hearing, our requests have been  dismissed. Idaho citizens deserve the opportunity to participate in a public discussion of these matters which directly affect the lives of our children and families. To date, there has not been a single debate, floor vote or  hearing held on this controversial test. The legislatures of seven (7) other states have reconsidered their  participation in SBAC and, having been convinced of its problems, withdrawn their participation. We therefore  present you with this resolution and urge you to examine the growing concerns with the Smarter Balanced
Assessment Consortium and the SBAC test, and ask you to consider this resolution:

WHEREAS early SBAC test experience in other states has shown that the increased length of the test, at 8 hours  or more, is causing unnecessary stress and anxiety for students, particularly among the youngest learners; and

WHEREAS the longer SBAC test has necessarily increased the testing window from 4 weeks to 8 weeks,  thereby extending the period of time when classroom instruction is disrupted by unavailable computer labs and incomplete classrooms. Many teachers surveyed have complained that testing has become a major distraction in their classrooms; and

WHEREAS the simple fail/pass/excel rankings of the SBAC test results will provide no actionable items upon  which meaningful improvements to classroom instruction can be based; and

WHEREAS there are tests that are more cost effective than the SBAC test, and these tests have been shown in other states to save taxpayer dollars and fulfill the requirements of federal government education waivers; and

WHEREAS it is in the best interest of the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers of Idaho that only testing of proper quality and quantity be administered in order to serve an educational purpose, as over testing can be costly and a poorly designed test can be detrimental to the students learning process. The SBAC test itself has no validity and reliability report upon which Idaho can rely to ensure the test is appropriate for use in Idaho schools, or for federal reporting purposes per IDAPA; and

WHEREAS the federally funded Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium holds a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education where Article II, A.5 requires them to “develop a strategy to make student level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis for research…” and Appendix E, N.6 which states that they “…must provide timely and complete access to any and all data collected at the State level to ED or its designated program monitors…”. There is no evidence to suggest that this agreement has been revised or retracted; and

WHERAS Idaho is currently required to pay a membership fee of $9.55 per student per year to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium in addition to actual testing costs and a Missouri judge has ruled that such membership fees are illegal and void in his state, writing… “The Court finds that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a.k.a. Smarter Balanced, Smarter Balanced at UCLA, SBAC, and SB, is an unlawful interstate compact to which the U.S. Congress has never consented, whose existence and operation violate the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, § 10, cl. 3, as well as numerous federal statutes”; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the undersigned to urge our legislative leadership to facilitate a public and open discussion on the benefits and detriments of the SBAC membership and the SBAC test; and to allow for public hearings on S1085 so as to get public comment on this very important issue facing our parents, teachers and students. These important policy decisions will have a profound effect upon the lives of a great many Idaho citizens and, as such, deserve the attention of the full legislative body and the public;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the undersigned feel that a failure by this Legislature to consider the widespread public opposition to Common Core and the SBAC test has severe potential consequences to our children and Idaho’s future of such magnitude that the entire membership of the Idaho Legislature should have the opportunity to participate in a full and careful reconsideration of Idaho’s membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and of Idaho’s current plan to utilize the Common Core aligned SBAC test.


The representative footprint of the groups signed below is currently well over 20,000 Idaho citizens

Idahoans for Local Education
Stephanie Zimmerman, Founder
9-12 Project of Idaho
Valerie Candelaria, President
Idahoans Against Common Core
Becky Foster, Stephanie Gifford, Emilee Murdoch,
Co-Founders (Note Correction)
Act! For America – Idaho Chapter
Warren Grover, President
Ada County Tea Party
Tammy Sullivan Watson President
Canyon County Tea Party
Darryl & Sheila Ford, Leaders
Central Idaho Tea Party
Dennis Stewart, President
Custer County Republican Central Comm.
Mike Barrett, Chairman
Custer County Tea Party
Darr & Dorothy Moon
Gem State Patriot Newsletter
Bob Neugebauer, Publisher
Grass Roots S.W. Idaho
Jan Montano, Leader
Idaho Business Alliance
George Gersema, CEO
Idaho Carry Open & Concealed
Tony Snesko, President
Idaho Chooses Life
David Ripley, Exec. Dir.                                                                                                                                                                                        Idaho County Commissioner
Jim Chmelik
Idaho County Tea Party
Mary Adler
Idaho Eagle Forum
Tammy Nichols, President
Idaho Federation of Young Republicans
Ben Fulcher, President
Idaho Freedom Foundation
Wayne Hoffman, President
Idaho Second Amendment Alliance
Greg Pruett, President
John Birch Society of Idaho
Tom Munds, Coordinator
Kootenai County Republican Central Comm.
Neil Oliver, Chairman
Lemhi County Tea Party
Ken Ledford, President
Lewis & Clark Tea Party
Rose Bunch
Liberty Writ
Lance Earl, Publisher
Mini-Cassia Tea Party
Rita Ramsey, President
Oathkeepers – Idaho District 3
Lynn House, Director
Panda Idaho
Jason Casella
Payette County Tea Party
Katherine Harris, President
Pocatello Tea Party Patriots
Larae Oram, President
Republican Liberty Caucus of Idaho “RCLID”
Karen Calisterio, Chairperson
Tea Party Gem County
Wayne Montano, Leader
Tea Party Patriots of North Idaho
Brent Regan, President
Mike Emry, Publisher
Washington County Tea Party
Larry Lundin, President
Young Americans for Liberty (YAL)
Nick Ferronato
“In Harmony With” the Idaho Republican Party
Barry Peterson, Former Chairman
Cornerstone Family Council
Julie Lynde Executive Director


SBAC Resolution_Final_Signed

Comments (2)

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  1. Jennifer hendricks says:

    I agree 100% with this letter. As a proctor for the SBAC last year, I saw first hand how insane this test was. It is subjective, confusing, and unrealistic. It is a nightmare of a test. Most educated adults wouldn’t understand its format and wouldn’t make sense of it. Simply put, it is immoral to subject our children to this test. I call it abusive and it should be stopped immediately!

  2. John Longhurst says:

    How do standardized tests benefit any student? Educational decisions should be made at the local level. Any dedicated teacher is in a better
    position to determine the best way to prepare her/his students for life
    than any bureaucrat, be it state or federal. The federal dept. of education should be eliminated. Decisions should be made at the local level. The process of education should be simplified; not complicated by requiring teachers and students to cater to bureaucratic whims.

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