Deputy director talks about education standards

2014-03-27T19:44:00Z 2014-03-27T22:43:57Z Deputy director talks about education standardsCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Indiana's deputy superintendent of public instruction said the department expected the backlash it received regarding the draft Indiana standards.

In 2010, Indiana was one of 45 states that adopted the Common Core State Standards, a set of academic standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Last year, the state decided to take a "pause" and review the guidelines with plans to adopt its own standards. This month, Gov. Mike Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 91, which requires Indiana to adopt its own academic standards.

Danielle Shockey told local educators dozens of educators from across the state, including Hammond teacher Lori Jones, have put in thousands of hours working on the standards that will prepare students for college and careers. Shockey said there have been many levels of evaluation to ensure the standards are the best they can be.

Shockey was the guest speaker at the Northwest Indiana Writing Project breakfast Thursday at Purdue University Calumet. She filled in for Superintendent Glenda Ritz, who was scheduled to speak but had a family emergency and did not attend.

Shockey focused on the standards, new assessments and accountability. She said on some of the standards, there were more than 1,000 comments submitted and on other standards, several hundred comments.

Many comments said there were too many standards to teach in one school year. Other comments noted the standards were the same as Common Core but some essential requirements had been omitted.

"It was never suggested that we would start start all over," she said. "We used Common Core as a base. There's been a spotlight on this from across the country. There's also been lots of politics involved. But that didn't sway the superintendent, who wanted to evaluate the standards and develop the best for Indiana students."

Once the draft standards are complete, they are expected to be reviewed by the Education Roundtable, which meets March 31. The state board of education will meet in April with plans to adopt the standards.

Shockey said new assessments, replacing the ISTEP-Plus test, will be developed and measure a student's growth against that student, rather than against other students in the same grade. She also touched on accountability and ensuring the state met federal guidelines.

During the breakfast meeting, Carolyn Boiarsky, director of the Northwest Indiana Writing Project, talked about the importance of writing and reading.

"Whether it's the Indiana curriculum or the national curriculum, we know that if we teach the best curriculum, our students are going to read and write well, and they will be prepared for college and careers," she said.

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