Many Hoosier educators may view Gov. Mike Pence’s recent remarks about education standards as a sign that Common Core is not regarded as a priority in Indiana. In his State of the State address, Pence was clear that he favored student expectations set at the state level, although he did not mention the nationally-crafted academic standards by name.
This does not come as a surprise to state officials. The state superintendent’s Education Department is collaborating with the State Board of Education to review the state’s academic standards. According to state superintendent Glenda Ritz, Indiana will remain independent.
“We always adopt our own standards,” says state superintendent Glenda Ritz. “It just so happens that in 2010 the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core as its standards. We are reviewing those standards. I’m pretty confident there are going to be changes to those standards. And Indiana will be adopting a new set of standards.”
Ritz’s Department of Education is currently working with the State Board of Education to review the state’s academic standards, a requirement of Common Core “pause” legislation passed in 2013. The old Indiana Academic Standard indicators teachers were still using as the state made the switch to Common Core are also being considered by teams of educators and experts. As a result, no one set of standards will determine the end product.
Pragmatically, Ritz believes the main ideas of Common Core are also present in the Indiana Academic Standards.
“To just give a very simple, elementary example: In reading, you teach kids how to find the main idea in a passage,” says Ritz. “The main idea is found in Common Core. It’s found in our Indiana Academic Standards.”
As Elle Moxley of StateImpact reports, currently, July 1 remains as the State Board’s deadline for adopting new standards. The education panel needs to hit their mark if they want to roll out new assessments in time for the 2015-16 school year according to Ritz, but Board member Andrea Neal thinks Indiana doesn’t need the extra time state lawmakers have proposed.
“It isn’t that hard because we’ve got some exceptional models that are already out there, including our prior standards,” she said. “We are not reinventing the wheel.”