Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

August 7, 2013

Debate heats up on ‘Core’ standards

INDIANAPOLIS — The deep divide over the Common Core State Standards for K-12 schools was on full display during a legislative hearing Monday that pit education experts against each other.

During more than eight hours of testimony in front of a legislative oversight committee charged with evaluating the impact of Common Core, supporters and critics of the new classroom standards for math and English traded opinions, studies and sometimes pointed barbs.

Critics painted Common Core as an attempt by outside forces to nationalize education and lower classroom standards in Indiana, while supporters of Common Core defended them as critical to boosting Hoosier students’ chances to get into and through college and compete on a global level.

At one point during the lengthy hearing, Jeffrey Zimba of the non-profit Student Achievement Partners and one of the lead writers of the Common Core math standards, said Indiana’s old education standards were good, but not good enough.

“The word ‘pizza’ occurs more times than the words, ‘number line,’ ” said Zimba, referring to the frequency in which food was used to explain fractions to Indiana schoolchildren.

Indiana is one of 45 states to adopt the use of the Common Core State Standards since they were rolled out in 2009. The standards, which set expectations by grade level for what every child should learn across the nation, were on track to be fully implemented in Indiana by the 2014-15 school year.

But that plan came to a halt earlier this year, when the Indiana General Assembly voted to “pause” Common Core to conduct hearings on its impact on Indiana schools. At least two more hearings will be conducted before the legislative oversight committee wraps up it’s work in November.

Monday’s hearing, which ran late into the evening, attracted a long line of proponents and opponents from in and out of Indiana. A vocal crowd of opponents, many wearing “Say NO to the Common Core” buttons, had to be admonished by the committee chairman, Republican state Sen. Dennis Kruse, to quiet their jeers, cheers and applause.

Among those who spoke against the Common Core standards was Jim Sturgis, head of the Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based organization that has led the campaign against Common Core since 2009. Sturgis faulted Common Core for many things, including what he said was the lack of public input in crafting the standards.

“They were developed behind closed doors by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.,” Sturgis said.

Common Core supporters disputed that, saying the standards were developed through an exhaustive and public process launched in 2008 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, whose members were interesting in coming up with a set of common education standards for math and English for schools in every state.  

The differences in opinion about how well those Common Core standards would work were stark during the hearing.

Bill Evers, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute and former U.S. assistant education secretary under President George W. Bush, called the Common Core math standards inferior to what Indiana had in place.

“The (Common Core) standards are mediocre…” Evers told committee members. “It’s worth returning to the Indiana standards.”

But comments like that prompted state Sen. Carlin Yoder, a Republican from Middlebury, to ask why there was a such a high number of Indiana high school graduates, including more than 40 percent of students who graduate with the college-prep “Core 40” degree, who need to take remedial math and English at the college level.

“Then why aren’t they ready for college?” Yoder asked experts who claimed Indiana’s past education standards were good enough for Indiana students.

Among the many people who testified at Monday’s hearing was Pam Horne, dean of admissions at Purdue University. Horne said she was concerned about Indiana pulling away from the Common Core standards while other states were working to implement them.

“There is not a wall around Indiana,” Horne said. “As almost the entire country adopts (Common Core) we do not want our kids who move to other states to be behind their peers, but rather to be well-prepared for the rigorous curriculum the standards support. And for those who stay in Indiana for higher education, we want them to be as competitive as their classmates from other states.”

Maureen Hayden can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Police & Rescue News LaGrange County police advise avoiding Ind. 5 and C.R. 400 South

    HONEYVILLE -- LaGrange County police are cautioning motorists to stay away from the intersection of Ind. 5 and C.R. 400 South due to a traffic accident.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police & Rescue News Person injured in fall at Goshen business

    Someone has been injured in a fall at Hoosier Interior Doors along Goshen’s East Lincoln Avenue.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Press Release 04-23-2014 J.jpg SLIDESHOW: Police need help ID'ing suspects The Goshen Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in identifying suspects wanted for questioning in relation to a number of thefts from retail stores throughout Indiana. The four individuals have stolen over $25,000 worth of merchandise, according to law enforcement. The men are believed to be African-American and have been seen fleeing in a white Dodge Ram or another white pickup truck with a white cap which may have Florida license plates. Anyone with information is asked to call the Goshen Police Department at 574-533-8661 or Michiana CrimeStoppers at 800-342-STOP.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michigan Prisoner Escape Michigan murderer arraigned in prison escape that led to manhunt in Elkhart, LaGrange counties

    IONIA, Mich. — A convicted murderer who broke out of a western Michigan prison in February has been arraigned on escape, carjacking and kidnapping charges.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEMA OKs aid for 19 Indiana counties hit by storm

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved disaster aid for 19 Indiana counties

    April 22, 2014

  • NWS GN140421 jobless rate Elkhart County jobless rate drops to 5.8 percent

    Elkhart County’s jobless rate dropped below 6 percent last month, according to figures released today by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
    The March unemployment rate for the county was estimated at 5.8 percent, compared to the February estimate of 6.2 percent and the March 2013 figure of 8.3 percent.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police & Rescue News Bristol motorcyclist dies from crash injuries

    Dale Greensides, 32, Bristol, the driver of a motorcycle involved in a crash with an automobile Sunday north of Middlebury, died today at 11:25 a.m.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police & Rescue News No injuries in Concord Township fire

    Firefighters were called to a basement fire in a Concord Township home shortly after midnight today.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police & Rescue News Bristol bank robbery suspect arrested

    A South Bend man has been arrested in connection with a bank robbery last year in Bristol.
    Zamale E. Davis, 19, 1805 Chapin St., was arrested at 7:10 a.m. Friday in South Bend by officers with the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police & Rescue News Six injured in crash northwest of Wakarusa

    A two-vehicle crash injured six people north of Wakarusa Tuesday.
    The mishap occurred around 7:20 a.m. at the intersection of C.R.s 1 and 26.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results