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Russ Fulcher’s Common Core challenge

Russ Fulcher says he changed his mind about Common Core for a simple reason: “It didn’t come as advertised.”

Fulcher said he thought the math and English language arts standards would etch local control into Idaho education. But he now believes the opposite has occurred. Even though State Department of Education staffers have been involved in developing the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exams, Fulcher doesn’t believe Idaho had significant input in writing the Common Core-aligned exams, and Idaho teachers will have no choice but to teach to the test.

Russ Fulcher
Sen. Russ Fulcher

So as Fulcher travels the state on his gubernatorial campaign, the Republican state senator from Meridian is having to explain why he now opposes standards he supported in the Senate Education Committee in 2011. “I’m not embarrassed by that at all.”

Common Core is not a centerpiece issue in Fulcher’s run. But it provides one distinction between Fulcher and incumbent Butch Otter — the two main candidates in a GOP primary also featuring perennial candidates Walt Bayes and Harley Brown.

For a closer look at the way K-12 issues shape the gubernatorial primary, here’s a link to my Idaho Education News story.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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