Idaho Senate committee approves school curriculum standards

Posted at 7:12 AM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 09:12:55-05

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho’s public school curriculum standards will stay in place for another year after they were adopted by a panel of Idaho senators.

The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved the standards on Wednesday, ensuring they will remain in place even though the House Education Committee voted to reject the same standards last week. Under Idaho’s administrative rules process, both the Idaho House and Senate must agree to adapt or reject the rules for any changes to occur. Because the Senate committee adopted the standards, that nullified the House committee’s action.

Several Republicans on the House committee have previously said that the standards were inappropriate, too hard or clashed with their personal beliefs. Hearings revealed mixed support from those attending, with several teachers and educators lauding the flexibility and thoroughness of the standards while some parents said it made it difficult to help their children with homework.

Senate Education Vice Chair Steven Thayn, a Republican from Emmett, said he appreciated the concerns raised by his colleagues on the House side, Boise State Public Radio reported.

“However, they only did the first part of the process. They identified some of the issues they wanted to address, bu they didn’t put into place a process to get this done,” he said.

The standards include benchmarks in English, math and science to describe what students should know after completing each grade. Idaho’s standards are based on Common Core, a set of standards developed by the National Governors Association that became a frequent target of Republicans after the Obama administration pushed states to adopt them.

Earlier Wednesday, the Senate also approved a resolution to create a committee to study replacing the school curriculum standards over the next several months. That proposal still needs House approval to move forward.