Committees crafting new Indiana state academic standards expect to have a working draft by Feb. 14, state officials said today.
Molly Chamberlin, chief assessment and accountability officer for Gov. Mike Pence’s Center for Education and Career Innovation, told the Indiana State Board of Education teams are reviewing Common Core, Indiana’s prior standards and other standards, expecting to borrow from several of them to create new standards intended to go into effect next fall.
Indiana was one of the earliest adopters of Common Core standards in 2010. But lawmakers passed a bill last last year to “pause” implementation and reconsider those standards. Over the past month it became clear Pence, Ritz, legislators and state board members were moving to replace them with new ones.
The Common Core, adopted by 45 states, was designed to assure high school graduates are prepared for college or careers. But Indiana critics have pushed back, saying adopting national standards cedes too much control over what is taught in Indiana to policymakers outside the state. Others argued the standards are not as strong as standards Indiana created in 2009.
The Senate this week passed a bill that would void Common Core as Indiana’s standards by July 1, in anticipation of the state board adopting new standards by that date. Ritz said she expects to present new standards to the board to adopt at its April 2 meeting. Gov. Mike Pence told reporters earlier today he was pleased by the the move to write new standards.
“There has never been, in the state of Indiana, a more rigorous review of education standards in the state before,” Ritz said.
The standards review team is going through Indiana’s current Common Core standards and assigning a plus, a minus or zero to each, Chamberlin said. A plus means the standard meets the team’s definition of “college and career ready;” a minus means it doesn’t. A zero means the standard needs more discussion.
Standards that team members consider “biased” or as having “embedded pedagogy” — an ingrained philosophy of how the standard should be taught — are given a zero and set aside for discussion, Chamberlin said. Some Common Core critics have raised concerns that the national standards go beyonds stipulating what should be taught to essentially prescribing how it is taught.
By month’s end, Chamberlin said, public feedback meetings will begin. All will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. The first will be Feb. 24 at the Ivy Tech Community College campus in Sellersburg, near Clarksville in Clark County. On Feb. 25, a public meeting will be held at the Indiana Government Center South in Indianapolis, next to the statehouse. On Feb. 26, a third meeting will be held at Plymouth High School in Marshall County near South Bend.
State board member Brad Oliver praised the state’s approach to setting new standards and the cooperation between CECI and the Indiana Department of Education, which at times have been at odds when Ritz has clashed with the state board.
Oliver said critics of Common Core should not expect all of the national standards to be expunged by the process. Likewise, he said, Common Core supporters cannot count on most of the standards being maintained and simply “rebranded” as Indiana standards.
“That’s really not fair,” Oliver said. “We have a good process. Now we have to let them do the process.”