Lawmakers remain caught in Common Core conundrum

2013-10-01T14:52:00Z 2013-10-02T17:52:05Z Lawmakers remain caught in Common Core conundrumBy Dan Carden, (317) 637-9078
October 01, 2013 2:52 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | State lawmakers are back to square one in deciding whether to keep, adapt or dump Common Core educational standards for Indiana schools.

Following more than 20 hours of expert and public testimony over three hearings this summer, the General Assembly's Common Core study committee unexpectedly included no recommendations in its final report approved Tuesday.

State Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, the committee's co-chairman, said the panel's six Republicans and six Democrats just couldn't agree on which direction Indiana should take concerning Common Core.

He confirmed a proposal to formally withdraw from Common Core and implement Indiana-designed standards was floated, but it didn't attract the seven votes necessary to be an official committee recommendation.

State Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, the top Democrat on the Senate Education Committee and a retired teacher, said the debate over Common Core, implemented by former state schools chief Tony Bennett and supported by former Gov. Mitch Daniels, both Republicans, has been politically driven and was "much ado about nothing."

"I continue to be a supporter of Common Core. 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."

The Republican-appointed State Board of Education adopted Common Core as Indiana's educational standards in 2010 on Bennett's recommendation. Democratic President Barack Obama also has endorsed the state-level program.

Common Core standards were developed on a multistate basis to set a shared understanding of what students should know and be able to demonstrate at each grade level with an eye toward being able to compete nationally and globally.

Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled General Assembly and Republican Gov. Mike Pence decided Indiana should "pause" implementing Common Core. Completely withdrawing from Common Core would cost Indiana about $24 million according to Pence's Office of Management and Budget.

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