IBJNews

Indiana faces deadline on new education standards

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

As the first state to drop the national Common Core learning standards, Indiana is rushing to approve new state-crafted benchmarks in time for teachers to use them this fall, and education leaders from across the nation are closely watching.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in March signed legislation requiring new standards to replace the Common Core, even though the state was among 45 states that in recent years adopted the national standards spelling out what students should be learning in math and reading at each grade level.

Some conservatives have criticized the initiative as a top-down takeover of local schools, and about 100 state bills were introduced this year to pause or repeal the standards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"Since Indiana is the very first state that has actually gone in this direction, I view this situation as incredibly important to get it as right as they possibly can," said James Milgram, an emeritus professor of mathematics at Stanford University and former Indiana resident who reviewed earlier versions of the standards.

Although officials are scurrying to finish the guidelines by the end of June to meet a demand from the Legislature, some have warned the stakes are too high to rush. The approved standards will determine what Indiana public students will be learning for the next six years.

The Indiana Education Roundtable is scheduled to vote on the standards Monday before sending them to the State Board of Education, which has final approval. Monday's meeting is the last chance to request changes to the proposed standards before the state board meets April 28 to either approve or reject the plan.

If either the roundtable or Board of Education rejects the standards, the process of crafting the standards would start again. That could delay getting them to teachers, who typically use their summers to prepare for the opening of the school year in the fall.

And getting higher institution leaders' approval of those standards is vital for Indiana to keep a waiver exempting the state from strict accountability measures in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The current draft already has the thumbs up.

The tight timeline has frustrated some education officials, who note that the process already has been delayed.

The public had four weeks to digest the first draft and give input, which ultimately delayed the final board meeting about three weeks as drafters sifted through nearly 2,000 online comments. Milgram said he took 10 days to do a complete review of part of the math standards. Three weeks were devoted to finalizing the latest draft.

Some experts and board members say they're still trying to assess what they'll be voting on.

The governor's special assistant for education innovation and reform, Claire Fiddian-Green, said the more than 6,000 hours spent revising the standards and including expert advice mean the latest version is a "substantially different document" compared with what one expert called "half-baked" standards that were included in the last draft.

Fiddian-Green said no analysis is planned to compare this version with the previous draft and with Common Core.

Board member David Freitas said he anticipates he'll have enough time to review the standards but said more questions could come up during the Education Roundtable and final board meeting that could push things off course.

"There may be some philosophical or conceptual disagreements on some particular components of it," Freitas said during a recent board meeting. "We have a responsibility not to accept it carte blanche and just say, 'People worked on it and therefore we're going to approve it.'"

Board member Andrea Neal said she sent copies of the draft Tuesday night for a final expert evaluation to guide any insight she might give the Education Roundtable.

"We're doing way too much, too rushed at the last minute," Neal said. "I don't think that's the appropriate (process) for developing world-class standards."

The shift away from Common Core has left many teachers confused and frustrated as they prepare to work with their third set of standards since 2009, School City of Hammond Superintendent Walter Watkins said. Though teachers will adjust, educators say further delay would likely compound that frustration.

"Any delay past that time really then puts the professionals in a compromised position," Indiana State Teachers Association Vice President Keith Gambill said. "At some point in time, there has to be: This is it."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Linda Offers Nothing
    Linda - You offer nothing in your comments; absolutely nothing constructive and you provide no support for your criticism of common core. Unfortunately, your attitude is shared by many who want to criticize but are clueless about how to build good standards.
  • Core is for dummies
    drop common core, but don't simply replace it with similar standards...and ELIMINATE teachers unions. UNIONS are destroying our educational system.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

ADVERTISEMENT