Educators move with Common Core, and state standards

2013-07-22T00:00:00Z 2014-05-14T17:54:16Z Educators move with Common Core, and state standardsCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

Even though the Indiana legislature has paused Common Core curriculum for more review, Indiana educators said they will implement it in the classroom, as they have been doing steadily for several years.

Adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, the Common Core State Standards is a set of nationally crafted academic standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. It was developed to align what students are learning nationwide and provide a basis for academic progress across states.

Supporters say it gives colleges and universities confidence that student achievement from state to state for admissions purposes; and it ensures if a student from Illinois moved to Indiana, they will be on par with students in Indiana with no interruption in education.

The Indiana State Board of Education adopted the Common Core standards in 2010 under the direction of former Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett.

New Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz joined some state legislators earlier this year in wanting to pause implementing Common Core.

Ritz said the legislative action does not prohibit schools from continuing to implement Common Core State Standards.

"My position has always been and continues to be that I am fine with having a dialogue and review about the standards," she said.

The pause, formalized in HB 1427 passed by the General Assembly last session, calls for meetings to be held to allow for comment on the Common Core standards. The Indiana State Board of Education will make recommendations by July 2014.

Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, a former Gary teacher, who said she supports Common Core, was satisfied with the path Indiana was on. She sat through many meetings over several years to vet Common Core standards.

"I think that as long as teachers and the education community are on board, and they have viewed the standards and are in agreement with them, there's no need for statewide meetings," Rogers said.

She said some legislators initially sought to remove Indiana completely from adopting the Common Core State standards, but eventually those legislators presented an idea the caucus agreed to, satisfying different wings of the Republican party.

"As a result, there is a pause to have 'rich dialogue' with citizens regarding the standards," Rogers said. "Whether you liked Tony Bennett or not, he, (former) Gov. Daniels and the Education Round Table did a good job of thoroughly going through the standards and making sure they were on a par -- or better than -- what we were using."

Rogers said there is a 15 percent variance a state can have, so a state can alter standard it feels strongly about.

Echoing the views of Daniels and Bennett, Hebron Superintendent George Letz said Indiana can't ignore the fact Indiana students have to compete with students across the world.

"These standards have been proven to provide the instruction for higher-level thinking skills that our students need," Letz said. "We're in a global society, and these standards have been verified and certified."

"The idea that a few legislators from Indiana feel they have the expertise to put a hold on this ... I just don't know where they get the authority. What are their education credentials? It's very frustrating."

Metropolitan School District of Boone Township, which includes Hebron, has moved ahead on the Common Core for all grade levels, as have most Northwest Indiana school districts.

Lora Bailey, dean for the School of Education at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, said the Common Core standards will bring the nation together.

"As a nation, we have faced the most difficulty with math and English. If we can come together around those standards, we might see some inroads in the outcome", she said.

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