INDIANAPOLIS – There will soon be one less state participating in the K-12 experiment known as Common Core.
On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled Indiana Senate voted 35-13 to replace the one-size-fits-all nationalized math and English learning standards with homegrown ones that are “the highest in the United States,” reports NWITimes.com.
Since the GOP-controlled House has already approved the same bill, the measure now just needs Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s signature to become law, a move that’s widely expected to happen.
Once the governor signs the repeal legislation, Indiana’s education leaders will have to double down on their current effort to prepare a new set of standards by the legislature’s July 1 deadline.
IndyStar.com reports that Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz plans to introduce the revamped standards to the State Board of Education sometime in April, “after a review by national experts and the state Education Roundtable, of which the governor is a member.”
The impending repeal is obviously good news for Common Core critics, many of whom see the nationalized standards and related tests (or “assessments”) as an attempt by Washington D.C. officials to gain backdoor access to the nation’s K-12 classrooms.
However, some are wondering how in the world Indiana’s education leaders will be able to unveil a new set of math and English standards in just a matter of weeks.
One of those skeptics appears to be state Sen. Scott Schneider, a fierce opponent of Common Core. Schneider’s fear is that the State Board of Education will essentially keep most of the Common Core standards (with a few tweaks here and there), give them a new name and consider the matter closed.
“I was reassured on numerous occasions to trust the process,” Schneider said, according to Chalkbeat Indiana. “But I will say this. If what comes out at end of the process remains Common Core under a different guise or a different name, in my opinion, that will be a monumental violation of the public trust.”
Lawmakers who voted against the repeal warned that teachers are just getting their arms around Common Core – which Indiana adopted in 2010 – and that switching to new standards will force educators to revamp their lesson plans and teaching practices yet again. They worry teachers will suffer from “standards transition fatigue,” NWITimes.com reports.
Other dissenters noted that redoing the standards will cost the state some $24 million – in new textbooks and instructional materials – and that students who take the Common Core-aligned SAT test to attend college may end up with lower scores.
Those are legitimate concerns, but they probably won’t be shared by the many Hoosier families that are more concerned about the potential long-term negative effects of having nationalized standards in their classrooms than the temporary difficulties caused by removing them.