Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Ritz: After Common Core Review, ‘Indiana Will Be Adopting A New Set Of Standards’

State Board of Education member Brad Oliver and state superintendent Glenda Ritz listen during a January 2014 meeting.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

State Board of Education member Brad Oliver and state superintendent Glenda Ritz listen during a board meeting.

Many Hoosier educators took Gov. Mike Pence’s remarks about education standards in his State of the State address as an indicator Indiana is moving away from the Common Core.

Though Pence did not mention the nationally-crafted academic standards by name, he made clear he favored student expectations set at the state level during his annual address.

But it wasn’t news to the state’s top education official, who says that’s been the plan all along.

“We always adopt our own standards,” says state superintendent Glenda Ritz. “It just so happens that in 2010 the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core as its standards. We are reviewing those standards. I’m pretty confident there are going to be changes to those standards. And Indiana will be adopting a new set of standards.”

Ritz’s Department of Education is currently working with the State Board of Education to review the state’s academic standards — a requirement of Common Core “pause” legislation passed in 2013. But she says teams of educators and experts are also looking at the old Indiana Academic Standard indicators teachers were still using as the state made the switch to Common Core.

As a result, the end product won’t be based on any one set of standards.

“To just give a very simple, elementary example: In reading, you teach kids how to find the main idea in a passage,” says Ritz. “The main idea is found in Common Core. It’s found in our Indiana Academic Standards.”

Right now the State Board’s deadline for adopting new academic standards is July 1 — and Ritz says the education panel needs to hit their mark if they want to roll out new assessments in time for the 2015-16 school year.

Board member Andrea Neal doesn’t think Indiana needs the extra time state lawmakers have proposed.

“It isn’t that hard because we’ve got some exceptional models that are already out there,  including our prior standards,” she told StateImpact. “We are not reinventing the wheel.”


  • Jme

    What’s the rush? The important thing is to get it done right, not to get it done fast.

    • Hannah JoanneMorgan

      Sooooo true! This SHOULD NOT be rushed… just look at the hot mess that happened in New York.

    • Karynb9

      Schools don’t have the luxury of “not getting it done fast.” We need to know what assessments our kids are going to be tested with…and we need to know what standards we need to teach in order to get them ready for those assessments. The federal government has already set a timetable and this “one year pause” we’ve already been forced to take has put Indiana behind. We can’t just refuse to educate kids for a year while the legislature takes another year of “We’ll go ahead and pause for a year to let everyone ‘re-evaluate’ things…and if you don’t change your minds and drop Common Core, we’ll just pause and ‘re-evaluate’ another year until you DO.”

      • Dedicated Teacher

        Darn it, Indiana, just tell me what to teach and then
        get out of my way!

        • Hannah JoanneMorgan

          How ’bout… teach what you know to be good for the kids, and let when Indiana figures out what they want to do, start integrating it into what you teach. But yes… politicians need to get out of the way!!!!

          • Cami Baker

            Very well said Hannah! I couldn’t agree more. I believe teachers need to only be told the basics and leave the teaching up to the ones who work daily with the children and who know and understand what works and what doesn’t. :)

      • Hannah JoanneMorgan

        We don’t refuse to educate our kids. We take what we know to be good teaching, do the best we can with it… and when they make up their minds about what “standards” they want, then we do what we can with it. When policies are rushed, and everyone plays the “Hurry! Hurry” game, deep, abiding damage is done. I say… don’t rush the standards… BUT THEN… don’t rush the assessments either. This shouldn’t be “ready, fire, aim”… but that appears to be what happened in New York… as a result, 30% of the kids past… does that mean that the majority of NY students suddenly became stupid? No, it means things were done at a ridiculous, careless pace that doesn’t honor the process of education. We need to get the corporatists out of the classroom.

        • Karynb9

          Your version of what needs to happen is a great reflection on what SHOULD have been…but we’re looking at reality now, and the reality is that the clock has already been set by the federal government (NCLB waiver requirements) and Indiana is falling behind. You mentioned that you taught kindergarten for years, but I wonder if your stance on the urgency of getting these standards and assessments figured out would be different if you were teaching third grade or fourth grade or any other ISTEP-tested grade. Most primary assessments are skills-based and not standards-based, so Indiana Academic Standards vs. CCSS doesn’t really have a bearing on the results of those skills-based assessments. Not the same in higher grades.

          • indyscott

            If the federal government stayed out of education then none of this would be an issue. We need to end the Federal Department of Education instead of taking orders from them just to receive our tax money back with strings attached.

          • Hannah JoanneMorgan

            I’m teaching 3rd grade this year… and I have a very passive-aggressive feeling about it. I’m so sick of the “urgency” that is shoved down our throats in the name of “America’s falling behind due to low standards.” Fact of the matter is, America has NEVER been #1 in testing… other countries wanted to emulate America, because we’ve been known for creative innovative thinking. Now THAT’S being destroyed because everyone’s freaking out about test scores and shoving test-prep down teachers’ & students’ throats (thank you NCLB & RTTT). I DO get it… I’ve taught in schools that have been threatened with closure due to low test scores… I’ve also taught in “A” schools. It’s not the teachers. It’s not the standards. It’s the socio-economic level of the kids. The urgency is really just the poisoned Kool-ade of corporate education reform… again, we need to get the corporate-friendly / education-foe politicians OUT of the classroom. THEY are ruining education.

  • Hannah JoanneMorgan

    If any Common Core is to be interwoven with the Indiana State Standards, TEAMS of teachers need to have input. Having taught the Indiana Standards & CC at the kindergarten level, I can vouch for the fact that not ALL of the CC standards are developmentally appropriate.

    • Steven Hunt

      common core is an absolute failure and should not be taught in any school. its just a way for liberals to implement and indoctrinate their beliefs in our school systems instead of actually teaching the students

      • Jme

        Common core is not a product of liberals. People from across the political spectrum oppose Common Core on the grounds that it is junk science, concocted by corporatists, not teachers or educators, and implemented with little to no input from families with students who will be subjected to it. Remember, in Indiana Common Core was brought to us by Mitch Daniels and Tony Bennett, not the “liberals”.

        • Steven Hunt

          common core is absolutely a product of the left. Maybe a few GOP but mainly its leftish BS being shoved down our kids throats by liberal blowhards. i am absolutely against CC

          • Nikki Jones

            That’s funny. I am liberal and am against implementing the common core. Also… last I checked, Republicans wanted it here in Indiana. Get your facts straight. Bennett/Daniels.

          • Cami Baker

            Ok now Nikki I am a Republican, BUT I do NOT support the CC, so with that being said maybe we should ALL leave political parties out of the blame game and figure out a way to all work together to fix this mess! :)

    • Holly Drury

      I agree… why is my fourth grader spending 4+ weeks on Greek Mythology?

      • Steven Hunt

        get your facts straight nikki jones its not the republicans across this country pushing common core its obama, reid, pelosi and all the other anti-American left wing liberals out to destroy this country of ours and to proudly claim to be liberal right now? clearly you aren’t too bright

        • Jme

          Wrong again. Common Core was developed by the National Governors Association and adopted by 45 states. It’s not being pushed on us; it’s optional for the states. It is and was supported by many conservative governors (Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, Jan Brewer, Haley Barbour, Bobby Jindal, and Pence until now…) Politically, I’m more like Nikki Jones (above). I lean liberal/progressive and have never supported common core or the assessment testing that comes with it.

          • Steven Hunt

            stop the lies! obama and his liberal cronies are absolutely in support of common core. it’s a left wing political machine driving common core down the throats of our children. its wrong!

          • Muncie Voice

            Steven, you’re wrong. You need to research Common Core beyond your Fox News echo chamber. You’ll find this was a corporate, free market driven program along with charter schools and data collection by large educational institutions and foundations looking to privatize public schools. Your assessment is all wrong.

            If you pay attention, you’ll also hear the Koch brothers and Fox News stepping up the rhetoric about how progressives were duped by Obama and Common Core is their evidence that Arne Duncan and Obama are taking over public education.

            Once again, they are half right because they think Obama is some liberal and progressive God, but he’s not. His policies have been much in line with Bush. He and his buddy tried to take down public education in Chicago, but it didn’t work. He’s a shill for the Third Way – Wall Street Democrats who want desperately to get public dollars set aside for education and pension assets. They also want to break the unions.

          • Steven Hunt

            no, i am right. Common Core is a tool of the left used to indoctrinate our children into thinking obama is a god and liberalism is way to succeed in life. It’s just left wing propaganda. This has nothing to do with the Koch brothers and Foxnews. Stop the blame GOP crap its getting old. Obama is president not Bush..u got it? By the way Obama is a far left liberal its the truth its not just someone’s opinion. anyways obama is a million times worse than Bush. At least Bush is a patriot who loves our country unlike obummer

          • Muncie Voice

            No, you’re ignorant of the facts. Obama tried to destroy teacher unions in Chicago with his staff member as the mayor. He’s not put one banker in jail. He gave us RomneyCare instead of universal medicine. He bailed out businesses and banks, and continued feeding the financial sector money through the Fed which inflated the stock market. Income inequality has gotten worse. He’s trying to force feed congress a trade pact that is contrary to all liberal principles and he uses drones which are killing innocent civilians. Not to mention the spying on citizens which have taken place.

            Steven, not sure where you get your information, but I can guess because of how you parrot lines of rhetoric, but you’re dead wrong of the facts. Use your brain for what God intended – it’s a tool. All the evidence is there to make up your own mind. You don’t need the “media” to tell you anything. You were trained in school to use those skills, now use them and break down the actual facts and figures to draw your own conclusions.

          • Steven Hunt

            obama is the worst president ever and i agree with what you are saying

          • Mr. Kinetik

            Steven, you are wrong. Common Core was developed by the National Governors Association, which doesn’t include all governors. Most of Common Core was initiated by groups and people with private interests. Bill Gates is one of the key financial supporters of Common Core. It’s sad that you would take to the Internet and attempt to use Common Core as a reason to express your distaste for President Obama. I don’t agree with many of President Obama’s decisions about education, including employing Arne Duncan, but I have done enough research to know he is not the key contributor to Common Core. If you are going to be upset about something, you need to be upset with the correct parties. Otherwise you just sound like bitter and your energy is misplaced.

          • Steven Hunt

            Common Core straight up came from the white house. Stop blaming governors for Obama’s screw ups Absolutely Common Core is 1 of a million reasons to protest obama’s absolute horrible leadership. Common Core is a product of the left and no one can deny that.

        • Yancy Unger

          The agenda is less from politicians and more from corporations and organizations like Pearson and the College Board. Coporations-lobbyists-politicians-legislators-policy.

  • Sam

    This is absolutely ludicrous. I am so glad I am retiring. I am so tired of the students being guinea pigs, and teachers having to revamp everything every bloody year.

  • Sam

    Who cares what party is the culprit behind common core, grading schools, pushing students to unrealistic goals, and causing teachers nightmares? Who cares if you are liberal or conservative? Just fix what we are putting our students through. That ladies and genlemen is the bottom line.

  • Concerned Parent

    I have been researching Common Core for the past two years and I have even taken a trip to Washington DC to the offices of the National Governors Association (located on the second floor of the Hall of States Building at 400 N Capital St NW) and I asked them about the CC. Their reply to me was that “we have nothing to do with education and have no idea where people keep getting the idea we do”. That was July 24, 2013. If you “follow the money” back to the beginning, it is a liberal/progressive project that was introduced during Clinton admin. but was refused by congress. It was brought out again once the current admin. took office and it was pushed by both parties but they did a better job of hiding it from the public this time. It was pushed by Bennett here in Indiana and Daniels trusted what Bennett told him and we all know now that Bennett was less than truthful (borderline corrupt). There is plenty of blame to go around for both sides. The important thing now is to make sure the students in the State of Indiana get the best educational start that is possible for them (which was not the CC). I have been in meetings with members of the SBOE, Pence’s office, Bosma’s office, and there seems to be a new plan going forward to include teachers from K-12 as well as higher education and parents! As it should have been in the first place. There will be three public hearings put on by the SBOE starting in mid February (from what I have been told) in northern, central and southern Indiana as well as online testimony from the public so everyone will have the opportunity to voice their opinion on what the standards should contain. PLEASE attend one of the public hearings in your area if possible but also submit an online testimony for the SBOE.

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