East Idaho News reports on a local school superintendent, Geoff Thomas, who fought Common Core and Smarter Balanced being implemented in his local school district. He also won the Idaho Superintendent of the Year award this year. We really need more school administrators like Thomas who are willing to stand up and fight.
Madison School District 321 got a taste of this first hand during the 2014-15 school year. Superintendent Geoffrey Thomas was awarded Superintendent of the Year for 2015 by the Idaho Association of School Administrators.
But Thomas also took some hits for taking an opposing position on Idaho Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s Idaho Standards Achievement Test. Thomas and the Madison School Board initially refused in March to offer the state mandated achievement test. However, the district reversed its decision a month later following significant state and federal pressure to offer the test or risk losing funding.
The district’s initial position on the Common Core-backed test resulted in a significant backlash from Boise leaders and other regional school districts. But it also generated a great deal of local support with some 40 percent of Madison students still being opted out of the test by their parents.
Jackie Rawlins, the founder of Madison Parents for Opting Out, told Idaho Education News in April it took courage for Thomas and Madison’s school board to fight state leaders on the test. Even though Madison was unable to prevent the test, she hoped the actions of parents would send a message to Boise.
Thomas apparently was the lone dissenter on the Idaho Governor’s Improving Education Task Force who opposed the implementation of the Idaho Core Standards as well.