Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Pence Wants Education Standards ‘By Hoosiers, For Hoosiers’

Gov. Mike Pence delivers a victory speech on Election Night 2012.

Gov. Mike Pence delivers a victory speech on Election Night 2012.

UPDATED, 10:42 p.m. EST: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence indicated he favors a step away from the nationally-crafted Common Core education standards in his State of the State address Tuesday night.

“When it comes to setting standards for schools, I can assure you, Indiana’s will be uncommonly high,” said Pence. “They will be written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers and will be among the best in the nation.”

With Pence’s support, it becomes more likely Indiana will become the first to leave the Common Core initiative, though many others have taken a step back from national consortiums designing new tests aligned to the standards. With Pence’s signature, Indiana exited one such group this summer.

Indiana schools have been using the Common Core since 2010, when the State Board adopted the standards. But state lawmakers voted last spring to pause alignment of Indiana’s assessment to its standards pending further review.

Pence’s statement casts further doubt on what test will replace the ISTEP+ in 2015. Currently the State Board is reviewing Indiana’s expectations for what students should know and learn at each grade level. State lawmakers have proposed giving them additional time — until next summer — to complete their work and pick new standards and assessments for Indiana students.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says if the State Board of Education and Superintendent Glenda Ritz don’t show they can work together to develop those new standards, the General Assembly will create legislation to do so.

“We don’t want to do that though because really this is the area where the Board, the Superintendent and the Department of Education ought to be doing it themselves,” says Long. “But if there continues to be an inability to find a path together, then we may have to describe that blueprint for them.”

Long says lawmakers will be keeping a close eye on Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting for signs of progress.

Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Brandon Smith contributed to this report.

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