Alternative Standards

Higher standards. That’s what Common Core is all about, right?  Don’t we all want higher standards for our children?  Idaho’s standards were just lousy anyway, why wouldn’t you want better, higher standards?  Idaho had to do better!  We’ve heard all of that.  Fine. Let’s play their game and pretend for a moment that Common Core reforms are solely about setting higher standards.

A few years ago, The Fordham Institute conducted an analysis of every states’ standards.  According to them, Idaho garnered a “C” in English Language Arts (ELA) and a “B” in Math.  The results were indisputable;  Idaho clearly needed higher standards.  That must be why we, and 45 other states, chose the Common Core Standards, right?  After all, they were supposedly the best in the nation!

In reality, it was never stated that Common Core Standards were the best. In fact, the Fordham Institute alsocompleted an analysis of the Common Core standards.  According to them Common Core had a B in ELA and an A- in Math.   Thirteen states had higher ELA standards and eleven states demonstrated higher math standards.   If our state education reformers were really interested in improving Idaho’s education standards wouldn’t they have modeled Idaho’s new standards after states with the highest standards in ELA and math?  At a very minimum, wouldn’t they have asked to review a copy of them?   We, at Idahoans for Local Education, are often accused of only complaining while offering no solutions.  This is how have responded in the past and will continue to respond:

  • For ELA, we would recommend looking to Sandra Stotsky, author of the top-rated Massachusetts’ ELA Standards. In fact, she’s even volunteered to help any state rewrite their standards and already has a complete set of ELA standards available for FREE on the internet.  Why on earth are we wasting time and resources on anything other than the best?


  • The best math standards in the nation belonged to California, pre- Common Core.  Oak Norton of Utahns Against Common Core recently wrote a great article detailing why they were so good. We, (I4LE) have already approached California about using their top-rated math standards.  A representative from CA has already given us the green light to use their math standards. Again, why are we destroying our local, educational sovereignty in exchange for mediocre standards?

Here you can view California’s Math Standards. 

Here you can see  Sandra Stotsky’s-Optional_ELA_standards.

Take a minute to look at these.  This is the direction Idaho could have gone, and we still can.  Let’s not lose a generation of students to something that is less than the best.  Let’s do something uniquely Idahoan that can become a true education model for the rest of the nation.  Our children deserve better than being common.