If all goes as planned, the Indiana State Board of Education will consider drafts of new academic standards in April.
The goal is to approve new standards by summer, time many teachers use to plan lessons and seek professional development.
But it’s as yet unclear what those drafts will look like — or how closely they will resemble the state’s current expectations for students, the nationally-crafted Common Core standards.
“There are pieces of our standards that are just going to be there,” says state superintendent Glenda Ritz. “We did a very extensive crosswalk [comparison] in 2010 between the Indiana academic standards and the Common Core. And keep in mind, there was huge overlap.”
Department of Education staff presented an overview of the standards revision process at the State Board meeting Thursday. Teams of educators and subject-matter experts are currently looking at several sets of expectations for students and comparing each to the state’s definition of “college- and career-ready.”Indiana’s previous academic standards, draft standards written in 2009 and the Common Core are all up for consideration. The educator-expert teams will meet Feb. 13 and 14 to suggest revisions to the new expectations, then seek public comment at a series of meetings in late February.
“I am very confident we will come out with standards that we like, that we feel confident with, that we can move forward with,” says Ritz. “How they’re worded will depend upon what we actually come out with.”
Indianapolis parent Erin Tuttle is co-founder of the group Hoosiers Against Common Core. She told board members she’s worried the panel reviewing the state’s academic standards has too many professors of math education and too few professors of mathematics, who she says are in a better position to say what skills students need to be ready for college-level coursework.
She says some of the math professors involved with the review process have spoken publicly in support of the Common Core, which has opponents of the standards worried.
“But the other people who have made such very dramatic, public statements in support of Common Core don’t hold that qualification,” says Tuttle. “Some of them might have a B.A. in mathematics, if that.”
Board member Brad Oliver thanked Tuttle for her comments but says the subject matter experts were selected without regard to their stance on the Common Core.
“I have to look at the process, and the process is a neutral process,” says Oliver.