Goshen News, Goshen, IN

State News

February 20, 2014

Indiana House committee votes to nix Common Core

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The state Department of Education on Thursday proposed new education requirements for students that combine national standards, former Indiana policies and benchmarks from other states.

Lawmakers have grappled with keeping national Common Core guidelines that gauge what students should be learning at each grade level and set new standards specific to the state. Those national standards were adopted by most states over the last few years with little fanfare, but anger has grown among tea partyers and liberals who have varying problems with the federal requirements.

Conservative anger in Indiana spurred the most recent action, but the changes between the state guidelines and Common Core might not be that stark. The requirements announced Thursday include a mix of Common Core and former Indiana standards, but largely will remain the same, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Danielle Shockey said. She said teachers likely could use the same textbooks.

The average parent is unlikely to notice a difference between the new state standards and the national Common Core standards, Shockey said.

"We are not changing everything a first grader needs to know and be able to do," Shockey said. "This is what a first grade teacher has been teaching, whether it's been labeled Indiana 2000, 2009 or the current standard. The skills in which they'll be teaching will remain the same mostly."

The debate also is playing out in the Indiana House, where a panel of representatives on Thursday voted 10-2 to send a bill axing the national standards to the full chamber for review. If passed, the legislation in the General Assembly would void Common Core and set a July deadline for the Indiana Board of Education to approve new standards.

However, new standards could be set regardless, with board members' approval.

"We put together a process to write Indiana standards, and I think that's a positive move," said Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, the bill's co-author. "What we're doing is staying with standards that are written in Indiana with a lot of input from Hoosiers, teachers and educators."

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