It's not unusual to hear students griping about the ISTEP, but when educators are complaining as well, it's time to take notice.
"I have nothing good to say about the ISTEP," Hebron Elementary School Principal James Martin told his School Board recently.
The problems with testing this year were frustrating for students, educators, parents and others. Adding to the frustration was the Indiana General Assembly's action this year to keep ISTEP on life support.
Indiana has reset the clock on joining the Common Core Standards initiative, with the Legislature overruling the State Board of Education and delaying implementation by at least one year while lawmakers play Monday morning quarterbacks this summer.
The Common Core standards would replace the current Indiana Academic Standards, and for good reason.
The Common Core national standards were developed not by the federal government but by a national group of educators. The standards have been adopted in 45 states.
There are some valid concerns about the new standards, but there are concerns about the existing standards as well. The new standards can and should be improved over time.
Munster Teachers Association President Ryan Ridgely and a number of other area educators have said the Common Core standards are more rigorous than the existing state standards. That's as it should be.
Hoosiers will compete for jobs not just within Indiana but throughout the nation, so it makes sense to have them be measured according to a set of national standards.
Indiana schools have been preparing for this transition for quite some time, arranging for curriculum and lessons that address the Common Core standards. Munster schools have already made that transition.
But State Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, persuaded his colleagues to stop the transition to the new standards, unanimously approved by the Indiana State Board of Education in 2010, until after a summer legislative study committee issues its recommendation.
But the Indiana lawmakers, having delayed the implementation, should now not block the transition.