It’s a question Cari Whicker says she often fields about her work on the State Board of Education — “What about Common Core?”
“It’s one of the most common questions I get asked when I’m out and around,” says Whicker, who teaches sixth grade in Huntington.
But Whicker questioned Friday whether the State Board’s position on Common Core is clear in the wake of a new state law requiring a legislative review of the nationally-crafted academic standards Indiana adopted in 2010. She proposed the State Board consider a resolution saying they would support the mandatory review.
“The old board had voted to support Common Core again,” says Whicker, referring to a resolution the State Board passed in February before Gov. Mike Pence appointed four new members. “I think at the very least, we need to have documented that we support the process, that we support a transparent, open, honest dialogue.”
Even without the resolution, state law requires the board again vote on academic standards before July 1, 2014. Earlier this month board members received a report from State Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s office on the new standards.On Friday, Ritz walked the State Board through the timeline outlined in House Bill 1427, which requires the State Board to consider the final report of the legislative study committee reviewing the standards and hold at least three public meetings before voting again on the Common Core.
But the decision on which set of standards to adopt ultimately lies with the State Board. That’s why Whicker proposed the resolution committing to transparency during the review process.
“We will make the ultimate decision, we understand the responsibility of it, and we will do it after open and honest review,” says Whicker.
Board member Tony Walker pointed out that the State Board had the support of the Indiana Education Roundtable when it adopted the Common Core in 2010.
“The problem I have with it is it implies the board didn’t undertake all of these deliberations before it enacted it the first time,” says Walker. “The board has actually already spoken to do this unanimously.”
Still, Walker voted with the State Board to approve Whicker’s resolution. But he added that it would be difficult for Indiana to reverse course now on the Common Core.
“It’s my opinion that as it relates to Common Core the horse is out of the barn,” says Walker. “It would be absolute chaos if we try to reverse this at this point.