EDITORIAL: Common Core is about common ground

2013-11-24T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Common Core is about common ground nwitimes.com
November 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The argument over Common Core standards for education isn't about Indiana's sovereignty, as much as its detractors try to make that point.

An Indiana General Assembly study committee on Common Core standards came close recently to recommending the state pull back from those standards. The panel came up short by one vote. State Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis, wouldn't join the six Republicans who voted for it.

"Hoosier students can be college- and career-ready, using the highest standards, but Indiana must maintain its independence and autonomy over our standards in order to improve and adjust our standards at our discretion," the proposal said.

What it fails to recognize, and what Common Core's detractors fail to see, is that the standards have already been put into place. Textbook adoption committees have already selected materials based on the Common Core standards.

Nor is Indiana limited from enhancing the standards. Remember, these are core standards, not the only tools for evaluating students' performance.

Common Core began as an initiative of the Republican-dominated National Governors Association. The governors saw the need to offer a way to provide fair comparisons of students across the nation with their peers.

The Indiana State Board of Education approved the standards in 2010. Tea Party objections to the standards, which prompted Indiana lawmakers to overrule the state board and pause implementation for a year pending legislative review, are based on these being federal standards.

But these aren't handed down from on high by the Obama administration.

Indiana education officials agreed to those standards, which allow some adaptation for Indiana concerns, not because the state was coerced to do so by the federal government but because Indiana wanted to join with other states in setting a national standard by which students' school performance can be compared.

Gov. Mike Pence's Office of Management and Budget estimated withdrawing completely from Common Core would cost Indiana about $24 million.

But it would also cost Indiana the opportunity to show that its students can be compared fairly with their peers in other states.

How will we know how well Hoosier students are doing if we don't have a reasonable standard for comparison?

Leave the Common Core standards in place.

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