Community Blog: The EDge

Tom Luna vs. Glenn Beck? (UPDATED)

Maybe not exactly.

But sort of.

Tom Luna
State Superintendent Tom Luna

In defending one of Tom Luna’s key initiatives — Idaho Core Standards, or “common core” — spokeswoman Melissa McGrath calls out conservative pundit Glenn Beck for spreading “misinformation” about the initiative to establish uniform math and English language arts standards.

McGrath decried the misinformation in an email sent to Idaho reporters this morning.

Here’s the chronology.

On March 14, Beck devoted his talk show to common core as a leftist movement that would devastate public education.

“Progressives have jammed this through in the dead of night,” Beck said. “Beside being dumber, our kids are going to be indoctrinated with extreme leftist ideology. We will not save our country unless we save it first from this attack.”

The next morning, the state Department of Education received eight to 10 emails criticizing common core — an unusually high volume on one topic, McGrath told Idaho Education News Tuesday, and all based on false information.

“(Beck’s concerns) are similar to myths being perpetuated across the country by outside interest groups that do not fully understand these standards or how they were developed,” McGrath said in an email to Idaho Education News. “We worked to address each person’s concerns individually and explain that the information they heard was not accurate.”

The common core standards were developed by officials from several states. Luna was involved in this process. Idaho is one of 45 states adopting the standards.

Here is the text of McGrath’s email to Idaho reporters:

“I wanted to make you aware of some misinformation that is being spread about the new Idaho Core Standards, which were adopted as a result of the state-led effort known as the Common Core State Standards Initiative. 

“You or your newsroom may have received some e-mails or phone calls from individuals who have this misinformation or myths about these new standards. I wanted to provide you with some of these myths and facts so you can be sure to provide accurate information in your reporting. The most recent misinformation was spread by Glenn Beck on an episode of his show earlier this month. Also, national interest groups have developed a ‘Keep Education Local’ template website that has been duplicated in almost every state now and contains misinformation about the standards.

The most popular myth is that these are ‘national’ standards that were developed by President Obama and his administration and are now being applied in states across the country. This is not true. These were developed by several states working together. They have now been voluntarily adopted by 45 states, including Idaho. The federal government was never involved in the development of these standards, nor have they made it a requirement in any way for states to adopt these standards.”

Click here and here for two recent Education Department blog posts on Idaho Core Standards.

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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