State education officials released drafts of new academic standards to the public late Wednesday night, kicking off a three-week period for parents and educators to offer feedback on the next set of expectations for Indiana schools.
The 98-page document outlines what K-12 students should know and learn in English language arts and math at each grade level.
StateImpact is working with experts to analyze the new standards. We’ll be posting their feedback in the coming days. But first, a timeline of dates to keep in mind as Indiana reviews its academic standards over the next six weeks:
- Feb. 24-26: State Board members will attend a series of public meetings to gather comment on the new standards. This will satisfy the requirements of legislation passed last spring to pause Common Core rollout in Indiana. The meetings are from 3-7 p.m. EST on Feb. 24 in Sellersberg, Feb. 25 in Indianapolis and Feb. 26 in Plymouth.
- March 12: Public comment on the standards closes at 11 a.m. EST. Those unable to attend the public meetings in late February can submit their feedback online. State Board staff will provide an update on the evaluation process at the March meeting.
- Late March: The standards evaluation teams are expected to meet at least one more time to review public feedback and incorporate it into the standards.
- March 31: The Indiana Education Roundtable, a body that includes Gov. Mike Pence and state superintendent Glenda Ritz, will consider the proposed standards at a 3:30 p.m. EST public meeting.
- April 9: The State Board of Education will vote to adopt the revised draft standards at the April meeting.
Happening Too Fast?
Lawmakers are worried the schools won’t have time to implement the new standards before the state introduces a new standardized test in 2016.
“It’s pretty clear to me there are going to be some major implementation questions,” Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, told the House Education Committee Thursday morning. “We haven’t thought about piloting a test, we haven’t thought about cut scores.”
Battles, a high school chemistry teacher, says he’s worried students and schools will become “scape goats” if the timeline is too ambitious.
But Indiana Department of Education staffers who have been working on the evaluation process say it’s not like the state is starting from scratch on academic standards. The proposed standards draw on expectations for schools with which teachers are already familiar.
“While yes, it may be a little quicker than in the past, where we might have taken a whole year for review, we’re doing something that’s very top-level,” says deputy superintendent Danielle Shockey. “Teachers have been engaged in professional development around the transition into the Common Core for the last 18 months.”