INDIANAPOLIS – Common Core advocates were dealt another blow Monday when Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced the Hoosier State will no longer be involved with the group that’s designing student tests that align with the new national learning standards.
National Public Radio reports that “Indiana has been scaling back participation in PARCC” (the testing group) since the Legislature passed a law in the spring that “pauses” Common Core’s implementation in the Hoosier State while lawmakers study its merits.
Pence described his decision to quit PARCC as “an affirmation of the direction we’ve been given from the Indiana General Assembly.”
By law, Indiana can only withdraw from the testing group if State Superintendent Glenda Ritz agrees with the decision. An Indiana Department of Education spokesperson said Ritz agrees with Pence’s decision.
Indiana is just the latest state to quit PARCC. Originally, 22 states were collaborating with the test-making group to design Common Core-compatible standardized tests. But that number has dropped to 17, as state lawmakers have become concerned not only about the costs of the new tests – which are considerably higher than most states currently spend on standardized assessments – but also about how Common Core erodes local and state control over public education.
Many of the 45 states that have adopted Common Core are working with another test-making group, known as Smarter Balanced. But that group has also had states drop out.
A recent Politico story explains that states’ rejection of uniform Common Core-related assessments could jeopardize the entire point of the new, one-size-fits-all learning standards, which is to homogenize America’s public education system:
“To the extent that we end up with 50 different exams and 50 different definitions of proficiency, we’re right back where we started,” Mitchell Chester, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Common Core supporter, told Politico.