State Board of Education members Cari Whicker and Sarah O'Brien listen during the Indianapolis public meeting on academic standards.
It’s not often proponents and opponents of Common Core agree.
But speakers on both sides of the aisle told state education officials Tuesday at a public hearing in Indianapolis there are just too many proposed academic standards to teach.
Schauna Findlay is president of the Indiana Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and reviewed the standards for the state’s pro-Common Core Chamber of Commerce. Findlay says the educator teams who developed the drafts have included more standards than teachers can get through in a year.
“Everything they said ‘this is a good standard’ was included in the draft standards without paying attention to have we now completely overloaded a particular grade level with additional content?” she says.
Findlay says in elementary math, Indiana has added a number of probability and measurement standards without subtracting anything. Continue Reading →
State Board of Education member Brad Oliver and state superintendent Glenda Ritz listen during the board's January 2014 meeting.
StateImpact Indiana caught up with State Board of Education member Brad Oliver in Sellersburg Monday night during a public meeting to discuss proposed academic standards. Oliver has been active in the ongoing standards evaluation process and answered a few questions about the draft standards likely to replace Common Core in Indiana.
We’ve included a transcript of our conversation with Oliver below.
StateImpact Indiana: Tell me a little more about the kind of feedback you’re looking for at this point. I know you’ve said you want comments on specific standards, feedback that helps shape the draft process. Is that what you feel you’re getting?
Right now I’m still hearing a lot of folks talking about the process. Not that I’m not concerned with that, but I really believe — and I’m on the record saying this — in the process we’re using. I want to hear more about concerns about the actual language of the standards, particularly from folks who are concerned about use of the Common Core. They’re noticing a lot of standards that are similar or the same. … What I’m still waiting to hear is actual specifics on particular standards at grades K-1 in math and other areas where I keep hearing concerns about how the standards are worded or structured. I’d like to hear more about that from folks who are concerned. Continue Reading →
Teacher Dylan Purlee tells state education officials Indiana should continue to share standards with the states that have adopted Common Core.
At a public meeting in Sellersburg Monday, critics of Common Core told state education officials the draft standards Hoosier educators have proposed are too similar to satisfy their concerns with the nationally-crafted expectations.
“If again you go back and start from the premise that college- and career-readiness is about making sure students have requisite skills and knowledge prior to being able to go to college without being remediated or go into a career, you apply that uniformly to whatever standards they looked at, you’re going to see a certain percentage of the standards come through,” says Oliver. Continue Reading →
And maybe you noticed that calculating the volume of a rectangular prism is again a fifth grade standard, not a sixth grade standard as it is in Common Core.
“There was one topic that our group spent probably 30 minutes debating,” says Manchester University professor Tim Brauch, who sat on the standards evaluation panel earlier this month. “In fifth grade science, under the current science standards, students are expected to use volume.”
And under the Indiana academic standards adopted in 2000, volume was also a fifth grade math standard. The panel of K-5 math educators and subject matter experts reviewing student expectations thought the two sets of standards should be internally consistent. And that meant getting volume back into fifth grade.
But if kids are going to calculate volume, says Brauch, they also need to be able to multiply three numbers — the formula is length times width times height. Continue Reading →
This reporter on the set of the WTIU-TV newsmagazine 'Indiana Newsdesk.'
I was telling this guy at a social occasion what I did for a living — that the work was invigorating and interesting, that I hoped it was making a difference, that I loved my job — when his eyes narrowed.
“Yes, but you’re an education reporter.”
I knew what this guy was thinking, though he didn’t have to say it. He assumed I spent my days covering choir concerts, bake sales and school plays. Education — a low-impact beat.
Gone, too, is a provision to bolster the state’s kindergarten readiness assessment, the ISTAR-KR. The state provides the qualitative test for free to Indiana preschools, public and private. But even kids who attended quality pre-K programs are arriving at kindergarten without any documentation of what they know already.
But Indiana isn’t the only state that falls short when it comes to linking preschool with the state’s K-12 system. According to a report the Early Childhood Data Collaborative released Wednesday, only Pennsylvania has a comprehensive system to track kids across pre-K programs before they start school. From the report:
To understand which policies and investments lead to effective early childhood education (ECE) services, policymakers need timely and accurate data about how children are developing over time, the quality of services available, characteristics of successful programs, and workforce education and training needs. Continue Reading →
Audrey Fetters, a kindergarten teacher at Flint Springs Elementary in Huntington, flips through notes she took on Common Core implementation. She doesn't think the standards are developmentally appropriate for kids.
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:
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. Continue Reading →
But the forces of opposition are strong in the Statehouse. And they reside most notably in the Indiana Senate, where powerhouse Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, has been skeptical about the idea. He has questioned the estimated $10 million per-year cost of the program and the governor’s idea of crafting the preschool policy this year and then addressing funding for it during next year’s budget-writing session.
Pence and House Republicans aren’t giving up, but the Senate opposition presents a daunting, perhaps game-ending obstacle this session.
The governor’s plan seems reasonable, as it would allow the state to perfect the mechanics of the policy so that the program can take off shortly after the funding is secured. But it goes against tradition at the Statehouse. Sadly, sometimes that’s all that matters. … Continue Reading →
“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.
Education standards are endlessly debated by lots of different people, including teachers, school districts, parents and politicians. States consult with experts, but specific expectations are often set by the legislature.
The end result can be textbooks larded with more material than teachers can hope to get to in the course of a year.
“It’s impossible to cover all that content with any depth and rigor,” says Kathleen Porter-Magee, a policy fellow at the Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank. ”Teachers have to decide what they’re going to teach, but if that’s the case, what is the point of the standards?” Continue Reading →
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