- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Evansville Courier & Press. March 2, 2014.

With Common Core gone, new standards had better succeed

Despite the good efforts of those who supported Common Core educational standards for Indiana schools, the Indiana Legislature has shut the door on the new standards adopted by most states.

Instead, Indiana will be adopting its own homegrown school standards. Although this newspaper and others backed the state’s adoption of Common Core, opposition from various factions, among them tea partiers, persuaded a majority of Indiana lawmakers to drop the plan in favor of one drafted within the state.

Although Common Core was drafted under the leadership of the nation’s governors, many critics believed it to be a federally written program, due perhaps to its support by President Barack Obama. Some 45 states, including Indiana, approved Common Core and launched its use in primary grades. However, it wasn’t long before distrust of Common Core developed, and a few states took the same course as Indiana.

Consequently, this past week the Indiana House voted 67-26 to end Common Core’s use in the Hoosier state. It was a bipartisan vote.

According to The Associated Press, the bill requires new college and career readiness standards to be ready for the 2014-2015 school year. And it defines college and career readiness standards as standards that provide high school graduates with knowledge and skills to transition without remediation to post-secondary education or training. Democratic state Rep. Kreg Battles of Vincennes had attempted to delay the testing deadline for students, but it failed.

A similar bill has been passed by the Indiana Senate. As a result, a July 1 deadline was set for the State Board of Education to write new standards outlining what students should be learning at each grade.

In fact, the state Department of Education last month proposed new education requirements for students. The AP said the standards combine national standards, former Indiana policies and benchmarks from other states. Probably those new Indiana standards would include some similarity to Common Core guidelines, as well as to current standards in Indiana. Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Danielle Shockey noted the similarity and said teachers could likely use the same textbooks they now use.

Of course, we are disappointed that Indiana did not stick with Common Core. Given that it is being utilized by most other states, it could be an advantage to students in those states as they take standardized tests such as SAT and as they attend college.

Also, Indiana has had its own standards in the past, with academic performance measured for many as mediocre. Will new state written standards improve that performance?

We hope they do. That is the bottom line on this whole mess. Whatever it takes - Indiana written standards or Common Core standards - Indiana students must be helped. We trust those who are adopting these standards and dropping Common Core know what they are doing.

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Tribune-Star, Terre Haute. March 2, 2014.

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