Back in 2010, Indiana joined the Common Core, a set of education standards adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. The Common Core was designed as a way to provide a similar education to students around the country. But ever since its adoption in Indiana, controversy has surrounded the issue.
Governor Mike Pence announced earlier this week that Indiana will be the first state to exit the initiative. Now, the State Board of Education must write new standards and many have questions about the future of Indiana’s classrooms.
John asks how Common Core standards treat evolution and climate change and how the new standards will treat those topics.
Deputy Superintendent of the Sate Board of Education Danielle Shockey says Common Core standards cover only English language arts and mathematics. Evolution and climate change would fall within science or social studies, two areas that have never been included in Common Core standards.
Kevin, a teacher, asks how the decision to withdraw from Common Core factors into additional standardized testing. Would there still be a new standardized test if Indiana stayed with the Common Core, or is the test a result of Indiana’s withdrawal?
StateImpact Indiana reporter Elle Moxley says ISTEP tests the standards that existed before the adoption of Common Core standards and will be administered for at least one more year in the transition period between standards.
This year, Indiana schools will pilot Core Link, a shorter test with only the multiple-choice content of the ISTEP. Core Link introduces students to a new testing environment, where they may be asked to drag and drop an answer highlight a particular part of a passage in place of filling in the traditional multiple-choice bubble.
Indiana also has a separate agreement with federal government to administer a college- and career-readiness test, but it is unclear what exactly it will test and who will provide it.
Todd asks if groups opposing the Common Core curriculum are acting on behalf of personal agendas, such as teaching creationism.
State Senator Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, says opposition to the Common Core curriculum has been fueled by the belief that Indiana’s educational standards should be set by elected officials in the state rather than in Washington, D.C.
Susan asks if the Common Core standards make students competitive candidates when applying to colleges and how admission offices view standards across different states.
Banks says Indiana’s standards before the Common Core were strong and will continue to be good after the elimination of the national standards. Since Indiana’s standards are among the best in the country, he says, colleges and universities across the country know students from Indiana are well prepared to enter college and the workforce.
Amy Marsh of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce praises the fact that the proposed standards will prepare students to take the ACT and SAT. She says that because every student enrolling in a selective institutions must take these exams, they act as neutralizers for admission offices.
You can listen to the full conversation above.
Jim Banks - State Senator, R-Columbia City
Danielle Shockey - Deputy Superintendent of the State Board of Education
Amy Marsh - Indiana Chamber of Commerce
Elle Moxley - StateImpact Indiana Reporter
Lacy Scarmana contributed to this report.