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Bill would delay new Indiana school standards

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Indiana legislators prepared a compromise bill Thursday that would suspend implementation of a national set of reading and math education standards for a year while new state reviews are done.

A House-Senate conference committee discussed a compromise bill that would block the State Board of Education from doing more to have schools start using the Common Core State Standards until new public hearings are conducted by the board and a special legislative committee.

The effort to overturn the benchmarks approved by the State Board of Education in 2010 is being opposed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and other groups that have supported the state's expansion of charter schools and adoption of a private school voucher program.

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, had earlier sought to withdraw Indiana from the standards, but that push stalled earlier in the legislative session.

The teaching standards — developed by a national group of state school officials and since adopted by 45 states — are now being used in Indiana's kindergarten and first grade classes, with all grades set to use them starting in the 2014-15 school year.

Schneider said he was comfortable with the new review proposed in the compromise and that he believed the standards didn't face a thorough enough evaluation before they were first adopted.

"The overriding issue has been the top-down governance, the ceding of local control and local ability to make education policy decisions in Indiana to someplace else," Schneider said.

The compromise bill calls for a legislative study committee to conduct at least three public hearings on the standards and complete a report by November. The State Board of Education would then have to review that report and conduct at least three more public hearings for its new evaluation of the standards by July 2013.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill Friday, which is expected to be the last day of this year's legislative session.

Hundreds of Common Core opponents attended a Statehouse rally in January in support of Schneider's bill to withdraw Indiana from the standards. Those opponents complained about frustrations over how skills such as addition and subtraction are being taught under the standards and that they've not been able find answers about how the criteria were set.

Democratic state schools superintendent Glenda Ritz, who took office in January, has said she didn't believe enough public review was done before the standards were adopted and supports the new round of public hearings.

Derek Redelman, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce's vice president on education policy, said the state's schools officials have been reviewing the Common Core benchmarks since 2009 and that the additional review isn't necessary.

Redelman said he believed the Legislature should leave teaching curriculum decisions to the State Board of Education.

"You don't hear a hue and cry from the schools saying 'get us out from under this,'" Redelman said. "You have a group of people who've never really been involved with education issues coming in expressing all these fears that are just truly unfounded."

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  • As I said before:
    It would be nice if our lawmakers spent as much time and money on our schools as they do on sports. I am glad my children are grown and out of this backwards school system.
  • Commie Corp
    The commie corp is morally deficient. Under the guise of educating children, this "standard" simply is an excuse to increase the QUANTITY - not QUALITY - of our children's schoolwork. With three kids in the system, I've seen it firsthand. When children are busy with school, it takes time away from family activities. Disruptions to the family such as this are the ultimate root cause of the decay in our society. Besides, can somebody please explain to me why 1) we would want to lose LOCAL control of our educational standards and 2)the state of Indiana would want to give up its sovereign right to educate its children? Why outsource our best resource to the equivalent of an educational death panel? Indiana can and should do better than the commie corp.
  • we can always exceed these standards
    If these standards have already been accepted by 45 states, we need to know that our children, here in Indiana will be doing at least as well. Accepting these standards doesn't limit education for our children. The standards can always be exceeded if we do have a better plan or method. So what do we have to lose? Please, if anyone can explain this to me, by all means do so.

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