Rep. Bill Goesling, R-Moscow, said he would be “bloodied” for his vote last week to repeal school English, science and math standards.

That expectation turned into reality during a “Coffee with District 5 Legislators” legislative update Saturday morning at the Moscow Chamber of Commerce lobby as a handful of audience members expressed their disappointment in the first-term representative’s decision.

Goesling said the current standards have not led to improved academic results and need to be revamped, the Lewiston Tribune reported Thursday. The State Board of Education and State Department of Education need to reexamine the standards, he said.

On Saturday, Goesling said the standards are there as a guideline and most teachers he has spoken with operate at a much higher level.

Goesling has an extensive background in Idaho education having served five years on the State Board of Education, five years as a regent for the University of Idaho, seven years on the Idaho Public Charter School Commission and four years on the Moscow School Board.

He does not expect the House Education Committee vote, which was 10-5 in favor of repealing the standards, to disrupt the public school system, according to the Tribune story.

On Saturday, he said some people testified in Boise in favor of the Common Core standards but many testified that they want changes to the standards.

“How many of you drove down to Boise to express your opinion?” Goesling asked.

One person responded it is the middle of winter, another said “I called you,” and a third person stated that was not a fair question.

Goesling said he and others in the committee had concerns about the fact that those who did testify were mostly from the Treasure Valley. He said they did not hear from people in the eastern and northern parts of the state.

“We didn’t get input from a lot of people that had concerns,” Goesling said.

He said he received emails and the committee chairman did not allow remote testimony.

Moscow School District Superintendent Greg Bailey asked Goesling how many superintendents called Goesling the night before the vote.

Three, Goesling replied

Moscow Mayor Bill Lambert said a summer legislative session would allow teachers and others from northern Idaho to travel to Boise and provide input.

One woman from the audience asked how residents can provide remote testimony.

Rep. Caroline Troy, R-Genesee, who has tried implementing remote testimony at the Legislature so people outside Boise have an opportunity to comment on bills during public hearings, said resistance to remote testimony has come from committee chairmen who are concerned that the testimonies will add too much time and prevent committees from getting things done.

“I feel like I’ve been banging my head against the wall of this topic for going on six years now,” Troy said.

After pondering Saturday’s discussion, she said she will propose a remote testimony bill, which received applause from some of those in attendance.

“Let’s make our voices be heard because this way is obviously not doing (it) and Alaska has been doing this since 1972,” Troy said. “By god, if Alaska can do it, Idaho can do it, so let’s get it done.”

Bailey said one of his fears of dropping Common Core standards is that “it puts us into a possibility of chaos.”

“Yeah, we go above and beyond the Common Core but it does give us a foundation,” Bailey said. “It helps our kids if they do decide to go to another state, to another university, they have that ability to know that they’re going to have an education that’s ready for them in college. So we’re sitting here and now playing this game going, ‘OK, we hope the Senate votes to bring them back and that’s really got me concerned.’ ”

Because of the recent committee vote and other proposed legislation, Bailey said he feels the House does not like education.

Sen. David Nelson, D-Moscow, said there is almost $300 million in federal money that hinges on the standards so the standards have to be there and hoping the Senate and State Board of Education addresses the situation is not very responsible.

“To me, it’s kind of irresponsible to throw these standards away without a plan in place,” Nelson said.

Even if the Senate goes along with the move — which is unlikely — the state board could republish the standards as a temporary rule.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to

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