Idaho’s Core Deception


“So the standards have been changed… We took those changes to the legislature and we teach the Idaho Content Standards.”

“We did get rid of it.”

“No, we didn’t rename it.”


(Yes, I know it’s posted up there twice.  Humor me.)

The first time I watched this video I was  surprised.  I knew I’d been a little bit out of the loop, but I didn’t think I’d been that far gone.


Fast forward a few months when I finally had the time to compare the new Idaho Content Standards (ICS) for math and English Language Arts with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) we adopted a few years ago.  


I spent several evenings scrolling through the new and old standards trying to get the PDF copies to match up well enough on my tiny computer screen so I could compare apples to apples.  After several painstakingly difficult nights of this process, I found a nifty little program that made the whole process much easier.  It’s not perfect at catching everything and there’s still a lot of scrolling taking place, but it did make it much easier.

Before we move forward, it’s important to note that when we adopted the Common Core Standards, we did so knowing they were copyrighted(If you want a doozy of a read, read the whole copyright.  It will help you realize just how much confidence they really had in these standards.) States who adopted Common Core Standards can only add 15% to the content and can take nothing away.  15PercentGuideline, 15% Achieve

Let’s start with the ELA:

Here are the 2010, Common Core Standards

These are the Idaho Content Standards that were adopted in 2018

And here they are side by side.

As you look at the introduction you’ll notice the Idaho Dept. of Education certainly didn’t put much effort or creativity into disguising the “new” ICS from the old Common Core standards.  Even most of the introduction is word-for-word the same!

The only real difference at all between the two takes place on page 39 of the ICS, where Idaho takes advantage of the ability to add a whopping 15% to the standards and includes handwriting, something originally not in the CCSS.

There are a few other minor changes. For example, on page 36 of the CCSS and 42 of ICS the words, “media and format” are switched to “format and media.” And page 43 and 50 respectfully, the writing for sixth grade adds a bullet point requiring students to, “use precise, domain-specific language.”

There may be a few other very minor wording changes I’ve overlooked, but I think you get the point.  Our “new” Idaho ELA Content Standards are just re-named Common Core State Standards.

Now on to Math

Here are the 2010 standards

The 2016 standards

And the side by side

I’ll save you the trouble.  They are exactly the same.  Exactly.  Down to the page number.  No changes, no taking advantage of the 15% we could add. Nothing.  Still Common Core.

What I found particularly interesting was this 2019 version of the Idaho math standards.

When I found these I thought that maybe there had been work done on a newer, better set of standards.  But, even in this newest version of the Idaho standards, they are exactly the same.  The only difference is it’s not as neat and tidy as the earlier comparison. The page numbers don’t quite match up.



Idaho Science Standards

Next Generation Science Standards

Side by side.

The pages here don’t match up as easily as the math and ELA but I think you’ll get the idea.  (Want to know more about how rotten the NGSS are?  Start here.)


So, back to Mrs. Ybarra.  What was she saying again??  Unfortunately, the only logical conclusion I can come to is she is either not being completely forthcoming with us, or she doesn’t know what’s really going on in the state’s education system.  Neither one is very flattering.

Math 2010  ICS-Mathematics-0816 Math 2019  Idaho science ngss ELA 2018 ELA 2010


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