INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana lawmakers studying the state’s use of a national
set of reading and math education standards haven’t been able to decide
whether they recommend those be kept, changed or dropped.
The six Republicans and six Democrats on the committee voted Tuesday to
approve a report with no direction on how the state should proceed with the
Common Core State Standards. The committee was formed after the General
Assembly this spring approved a bill “pausing” implementation of the
standards, which had been adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010.
Committee co-chairman Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, said a proposal
to drop the Common Core and implement Indiana-designed standards has been
considered by panel members, but hasn’t gained enough support.
Behning, who has supported the Common Core standards, said he had hoped for
a consensus among the committee members.
“We’re not too far away from getting some agreement, but at this point in
time we don’t have it,” he said.
Some legislators have complained that Indiana has lost control over local
schools by using the teaching standards developed by a national group of
state school officials and since adopted by more than 40 states.
The committee’s nonbinding recommendations would go to the State Board of
Education, which is to hold at least three more public hearings on the
standards and their future by next July.
Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, said he wanted to see Indiana create new
standards that borrow from the Common Core and the state’s previous
“I heard from parents, teachers and community members that Indiana must
maintain its sovereignty with regard to our education standards, and
withdrawing from Common Core allows us to do just that,” Yoder said.
Republican Gov. Mike Pence supported the move to suspend implementation of
the national standards for a year while the new state reviews are conducted.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and other Common Core supporters say the
state’s education officials have been reviewing the benchmarks for years and
that the additional review isn’t necessary. They also point to organizers of
the ACT and SAT exams expecting students to meet those benchmarks.
Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, said the debate over standards adopted under
former Republican state schools superintendent Tony Bennett was politically
driven and “much ado about nothing.”
“I think Common Core is common sense,” Rogers said. “We need to have
standards that for any student moving from state to state - we do live in a
mobile society - the expectations would be the same.”