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Alan Petersime

Bill to void Common Core passes Indiana House

The Indiana House today overwhelmingly approved a bill that would void Common Core standards in Indiana 67 to 26.

Senate Bill 91, passed by the full Senate last month, now heads to a conference committee to resolve differences with the Senate version, as it was amended earlier this month by the House Education Committee.

The bill sets a July 1 deadline for new standards to be adopted by the Indiana State Board of Education to replace Common Core. In 2013, the legislature approved a bill to “pause” implementation of Common Core to allow time for a new review of the standards and a new vote of the Indiana State Board of Education by July 1, 2014.

That review process has become an effort led by the Indiana State Board of Education and state Superintendent Glenda Ritz to set new, Indiana-specific academic standards to replace Common Core. Draft standards were released last week for public comment and public hearings were held this week in Indianapolis, Plymouth and Sellersburg. Ritz has said the state board hopes to approve the new standards on April 9.

Rep. Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, blasted the bill before the vote as the product of conservative paranoia, pointing to a provision in the bill aimed at ensuring Indiana’s “sovereignty” when it comes to setting standards.

“We are doing all this so we can maintain our sovereignty?” he said. “I’ve seen no threat to the sovereignty of the state of Indiana. This is just an attempt to separate ourselves from rest of the country because we’ll feel better about ourselves.”

But Rep. Rhonda Rhoads, R-Corydon, said the threat was real. The U.S. Department of Education, she said, steered states toward the Common Core with the promise of relief from the consequences of the federal No Child Left Behind Law when it signed a deal with Indiana to waive some of NCLB’s accountability requirements.

“That’s the government involved unconstitutionally,” she said. “We’ve been told the federal government isn’t involved in dictating standards but I don’t think that’s true.”

Indiana was among the earliest states to adopt Common Core in 2010. Now 45 states have signed on with the goal of assuring that high school students graduate prepared for college or careers. Indian’s NCLB waiver was granted in 2012.

Common Core came under increasing critics mover the past year from conservatives who argued it ceded too much control over what is taught to policymakers outside the state or that the standards are not as strong as standards Indiana created in 2009.