INDIANAPOLIS | State lawmakers spent nearly seven hours last week listening to expert and public testimony concerning Indiana's use of Common Core educational standards.
Indiana made Common Core its state standards in 2010. However, many participants at the first of three scheduled meetings of the Legislature's Common Core study committee seemed to believe Common Core is a new, radical agenda foisted on Indiana schools by the Obama administration.
In fact, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed the State Board of Education members who adopted Common Core for Indiana schools. Republican Tony Bennett, then-superintendent of public instruction, emphatically endorsed Common Core and strongly recommended its adoption.
But spurred by Tea Party chagrin and various Internet conspiracy theories, the Republican-controlled General Assembly this year paused implementing Common Core, making Indiana the first state to do so, and ordered the State Board of Education to reconsider whether Common Core should be Indiana's educational standard.
That decision, supported by Republican Gov. Mike Pence, has left many Hoosier teachers and parents wondering what their students will be expected to know and demonstrate at each grade level when classes begin later this month.
This timeline of Indiana's Common Core experience, compiled in part by the Department of Education, details how the state got here, where the issue stands and what's next for the state's educational standards.
November 2007 — Education leaders meeting at the annual policy forum for the Council of Chief State School Officers agree to work with the National Governors Association to develop a multistate school standards initiative to be known as Common Core. The project begins by developing English and math standards intended to ensure students are college or career ready after graduating from high school.
June 2010 — Common Core standards are released, and 45 states begin the process of adopting them.
August 2010 — The Indiana Education Roundtable — co-chaired by Daniels and Bennett and made up of education, business and community leaders — recommends, and the State Board of Education unanimously decides, to make Common Core Indiana's educational standards. School corporations still determine locally what curriculum, instructional materials and teaching strategies to use in implementing Common Core.
Fall 2011 — Schools begin transitioning to Common Core standards while also continuing to follow the Indiana Academic Standards tested by the ISTEP+ standardized exams. The state is on target to switch to the Common Core exam during the 2014-15 school year.
Fall 2012 — Tea Party and other conservative groups begin condemning Common Core, in part because the standards are backed by Democratic President Barack Obama. Bennett loses his re-election bid to Democrat Glenda Ritz.
April 2013 — House Enrolled Act 1427, pausing Indiana's implementation of Common Core, is approved 34-15 in the Senate and 53-45 in the House. Pence signs it into law May 11. The law requires the State Board of Education to adopt new college- and career-readiness standards, prohibits Indiana from participating in a multistate testing consortium and orders ISTEP+ exams be given through 2015.
Summer 2013 — A legislative committee holds three meetings to study Common Core and other educational standards. The first meeting was Aug. 5. Schools are directed to continue teaching Common Core standards as well as Indiana Academic Standards. Pence withdraws Indiana from a Common Core testing consortium.
October 2013 — Ritz will appoint academic standards committees in English and math to develop new Indiana standards — likely Common Core with some Indiana-specific additions. The state also can develop its own standards independent of Common Core if a panel of state university leaders certifies the alternative standards effectively prepare high school graduates for college or careers.
Before July 1, 2014 — The Education Roundtable must endorse and the State Board of Education must adopt new college- and career-readiness standards. How student performance under those standards will be tested is still to be determined.