Common Core Standards Up For Another Legislative Review
September 9, 2013 — A legislative panel evaluating the Common Core educational standards meets this week for the second time. And as Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports, lawmakers will consider the future of student testing:
The StatehouseFile.com — INDIANAPOLIS – Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz told lawmakers the education department will review the Common Core standards individually to determine if each would be best for Indiana.
Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly voted to pause the implementation of Common Core so state officials could take a second look at the curriculum, which was created by state education groups and has been endorsed by President Barack Obama’s administration.
In the first study committee meeting, members heard testimony about how Indiana’s standards compare to Common Core. The two upcoming meetings will focus on data related to assessments and the fiscal impact of the choice to either continue implementing or repeal the national standards.
Indiana can choose to adopt the English Language Arts standards or the mathematics standards or both. The state board of education can add up to 15 percent in additional standards or qualifications, but states cannot revise the national education standards.
Ritz said the education department will work with the Indiana Office of Management and Budget – as required by the new law – to prepare a fiscal impact statement, which is due by Sept. 1.
She also said the department will appoint members to committees to review the English Language Arts and mathematics standards by Oct. 1. Each committee must be made up of teachers from the reviewed subject areas, but Ritz said she wants to expand the committee to have advisors who are business leaders and parents.
She said the Department of Education will hold a web-based public review of the proposed standards.
“That is something I am totally committed to,” Ritz said. “It is a practice of the Department of Education as we move forward with the standards to be sure they are available for public input throughout the process.”
Indiana is among about a dozen states – of the 45 to adopt the standards – where the curriculum is under review. Indiana had planned to implement Common Core over several years and it’s in place now only through 1st grade.
Kathleen Porter-Magee, senior director of the high quality standards program at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington D.C., told lawmakers Monday that she recommends Indiana adopt Common Core with the possible 15 percent of additions, like Massachusetts chose to do.
“By choosing to leverage the Common Core and add to them the best of Indiana’s previous standards, you have the opportunity to create a set of standards that would rival the best of the world,” Porter-Magee said. “This is a goal worth shooting for and something that would position Indiana students where they need to be in terms of national and international competitiveness.”
However, Sandra Stotsky, former senior associate commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education, said Indiana should readopt its previous standards because they were “far superior” to Common Core.
She said adopting Common Core would be a “waste of money” because the national education standards need to be “completely revised, if not entirely abandoned.”