Indiana’s Own Academic Standards Move Closer To Final Approval
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – New state-crafted K-12 academic standards are closer to being implemented in Indiana.
Last month, Governor Mike Pence signed a bill into law rescinding national Common Core education standards from Indiana school curriculum. Pence has often stated that he has long believed that education is a state and local function.
Pence and the Indiana Education Roundtable voted Monday to endorse new standards created by Indiana education leaders. The vote was 21-2 for English standards and 21-3 for math standards.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, who had a hand in creating the state’s version of education standards, co-chaired the roundtable meeting with the governor. She was pleased with Monday’s vote.
“My staff and the Technical, Advisory, and Evaluation Teams, as well as the College and Career Readiness Panel have spent thousands of hours working on this standards review process to ensure that our standards are not just college and career ready, but the highest in the country. In addition, this process has been the most transparent standards review I have ever witnessed as we had multiple public meetings and expert review while incorporating thousands of public comments into these final standards,” she said.
The standards now head to the State Board of Education for a final vote on Monday, April 28. If they pass that test, the Indiana Department of Education will begin working with schools throughout the state to see the standards implemented.
Pence said that while previous standards included standards for algebra I, algebra II and geometry, the new set includes trigonometry, finite math, probability and statistics, pre-calculus and calculus.
“I said at the outset of this process that Indiana’s academic standards would be written by Hoosiers for Hoosiers and would be uncommonly high,” Pence said in a statement following the vote. “After a careful review of the process and the outcome, I believe Indiana has accomplished this task and I join the Education Roundtable in forwarding these new Indiana academic standards to the State Board of Education for approval.”
However, critics of the proposed Indiana standards argue that they are not much different or better than Common Core. A couple hundred such opponents protested outside the roundtable meeting.
Leaders of the organization Hoosiers Against Common Core issued a letter to the education roundtable calling the state standards of poor quality and a step backwards for Indiana students.
“We suggest that Indiana return to our former standards, which were judged superior by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Teachers are already familiar with these standards, thus providing an easy transition for students and teachers to begin planning for the next school year,” said Hoosiers Against Common Core co-founders Erin Tuttle and Heather Crossin.
Yet, the state’s largest teachers union, the Indiana State Teachers Association, has supported the idea of Indiana having its own classroom standards.
“Teachers just want to know what standards they’re expected to teach,” said Teresa Meredith, ISTA president. “As long as Indiana’s standards are properly implemented and assessed, teachers know that Indiana’s public schools will continue to graduate students prepared for college, for careers and for citizenship.”