Common Core is a set of new learning standards that Indiana, like 45 other states and the District of Columbia, adopted with a goal of boost students’ academic skills. The standards, which outline what students should know by the end of each grade, emphasize critical thinking and evidence-based argument across math and literacy.
After early enthusiasm for the standards, Indiana in 2013 paused implementation to allow for a new round of public input. In 2014, the Indiana State Board of Education will take a new vote to decide whether to reaffirm its commitment to Common Core or drop the standards so the state can create its own.
Indiana adopted Common Core standards in 2011 with almost no opposition. Criticism of the move remained mild until 2013. The 2012 election produced a new Gov. Mike Pence and state Superintendent Glenda Ritz expressed reservation, while some key legislative leaders changed from supporting Common Core to opposing it.
One group of critics argues that the Common Core standards are not as strong as Indiana’s prior standards. Among those that believe this is Sandra Stotsky, a University of Arkansas professor who helped write Indiana’s prior standards.
Another group of critics say that support for Common Core from the U.S. Department of Education—which has endorsed the standards and offered incentives for states to adopt them—suggests too much federal influence in the state’s education standards. Supporters say Common Core will lead to high school graduates that are better prepared for college and careers.
Some school districts have already implemented the Common Core for all grades. But the state’s recommended implementation schedule had only required Common Core standards through second grade as of 2013.
Districts that adopted Common Core early argue that college entrance tests like the SAT and ACT will follow the standards, too, and don’t want to risk leaving students unprepared.
THE BOTTOM LINE FOR:
- Wildly conflicting opinion surveys have estimated as little as 32 percent or as much as 68 percent of Hoosiers favor adoption of Common Core standards.
- Indiana currently spends $34.3 million on state tests.
- A state study estimates Indiana could save at least $1.1 million by using Common Core exams created by other states as its state exam.
November 27, 2013
(This post is one in a series exploring the basics of key issues in education in Indiana. For a list of the issues and links to the other posts, see this story on why Indiana matters when it comes to education.) Indiana was an early adopter of national Common Core standards, but, after a change […]
November 19, 2013
Will 2014 be another big year for new education laws? That’s hard to say. As lawmakers began to pitch ideas today for the 2014 legislative session, opinions diverged on how much could be accomplished on hot education issues like the Common Core, preschool funding and discord on the Indiana State Board of Education. Senate Education […]
November 7, 2013
Indiana fourth graders made big gains on a national test of reading and math known as the “nation’s report card,” according to data released today. Indiana’s 2013 gains were top five among the 50 states on both fourth grade reading and math. Eighth graders posted smaller gains in both reading and math. Hoosier test takers […]