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Gov. Mike Pence speaks before signing several education bills today at the Indiana State Library. (Scott Elliott)

Gov. Mike Pence speaks before signing several education bills today at the Indiana State Library. (Scott Elliott)

Pence signs bill voiding Indiana’s Common Core adoption

It’s official: Indiana has pulled out of Common Core.

But what impact that move actually has on what kids learn in the classroom is still uncertain.

Gov. Mike Pence today signed into law a bill that void’s Indiana’s 2010 adoption of Common Core. At the time, Indiana was one of earliest of the 45 states that ultimately agreed to make Common Core their state standards with the goal of assuring high school graduates are ready for college or careers. The effort was led by then Gov. Mitch Daniels, and Tony Bennett, the former state superintendent. Like Pence, both are Republicans.

The just-signed law calls for new standards to be established by July 1. Democratic State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, and the Republican-appointed Indiana State Board of Education, are working toward approving new standards in April.

Pence said he expected the new standards will be of greater quality than Common Core and a better fit for Indiana, as they will have been created by committees of Indiana educators.

“I’m very confident, having signed that legislation today that formally ends Indiana’s use of the Common Core standards, that the process we have underway today will achieve that objective,” he said.

After Daniels left office and Ritz defeated Bennett in 2012, momentum began to turn against Common Core.

Urged on by Common Core opponents, the legislature last year 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 state board by July 1, 2014. The review process over the last few months evolved into an effort to set new, Indiana-specific academic standards to replace Common Core.

But the question remains, how different will Indiana’s new standards be? Already critics of the draft standards have said there is huge overlap with Common Core.

Pence said he did not think Indiana should focus on what percentage of the new standards are similar to Common Core.

“We’ve got to stay focused on the kids here,” he said. “The question we ought to be asking at every grade level is, what are the standards for academic attainment should be in that grade level? Where we derive them, to me, is of less significance than are we actually serving the best interests of our kids?”