State education officials will release drafts of new academic standards Wednesday — but will they be the best in the country?
Literally, will they be “the highest standards in the United States?”
A Senate proposal to void adoption of the nationally-crafted Common Core standards includes language that would require Indiana’s next expectations for students to meet this mark. The House Education Committee heard testimony on the bill Tuesday morning.
“That would be determined by the State Board of Education and the panels the superintendent and Department of Education have put together,” says Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, the bill’s author. “This is the concept we want to shoot for.”
But Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, expressed concern Indiana would need to bring in an outside entity to make that determination.
“You have to compare apples to other apples out there,” says Smith.
Indiana’s universities will have to sign off on whatever standards education officials adopt next to certify students leaving the state’s K-12 schools will be ready for college-level coursework.
That’s why IDOE Director of Legislative Affairs John Barnes told the House Education Committee Tuesday says Schneider’s bill needs to include the state’s definition of “college- and career-readiness.”
The federal definition of college- and career-readiness is similar, but Barnes says the point of the re-write is to create academic standards written at the state level.“It might be premature to use… the federal government’s definition in a bill that talks about the Hoosier version of the education standards we want to have,” says Barnes.
Common Core Shift In Progress
Indiana is already on track to exit the national standards initiative with new, state-specific expectations for students. If the State Board adopts those new recommendations in April, Indiana will be the first state to reverse its 2010 decision to share standards for students.
That isn’t to say elements of the nationally-crafted academic standards the state has been using won’t be present. Panels of K-12 educators and subject matter experts built the draft standards from the Common Core and prior Indiana expectations for students.
“It’s going to be the language that is the best set of learning skills,” says Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Danielle Shockey. “I can’t even begin to guess what the origin is going to be because we’re really just looking at the language and the best set of standards.”
The proposed standards will be posted on the Department of Education’s website Wednesday for public comment, which can be submitted until March 12.
Committee members won’t vote on Schneider’s proposal until later this week.