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says, noting they all support the Common Core. While the Obama administration has awarded some states using “common standards” with points in the state-against-state Race to the Top competition, the Common Core has been driven mostly by governors and state superintendents like Idaho’s controversial Tom Luna. “My gosh, if Tom Luna supports it, it’s hardly a vast liberal program,” Hearn says. Luna’s office has responded to the outcry by issuing a lengthy “Myths and Facts about the Idaho Core Standards” document debunking misconceptions about Common Core. No, the Common Core won’t indoctrinate students with “communism” or change the way 9/11 is taught. No, it doesn’t require schools to collect “biometric data” on students, or information on religious affiliation. And contrary to fears, Michael Petrilli, executive vice-president of the right-leaning Thomas B. Fordham Institute, says Common Core standards are actually tougher. “We’ve been reviewing state standards for 15 years. Speaking technically, [the old standards] sucked. They were quite mediocre,” Petrilli says. “Especially in a state like Idaho that had standards that were quite weak.” At Luna’s request, Petrilli wrote a letter in March urging Idaho to stay the course. “[D]on’t let your frustration with President Obama lead you to lash out at the children of Idaho,” he wrote. “The Common Core is the smartest path forward.” Still, some continue to fear the standards will turn into a cage instead of a launch pad. “It is a unified system we’re applying universally,” boardmember Brent Regan says at the Grange forum. “Is that really what we want? Do we want to give up local control?” The Coeur d’Alene school board held a Common Core workshop Monday to get more details. Regan says he’s keeping an open mind. “Those who have good solid information — factual information, not Glenn Beck whispering into a tinfoil hat or whatever — the board will entertain that,” Regan says. “It’s only through good information that we can make good decisions.” n danielw@inlander.com

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