Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Glenda Ritz: 'It's A Good Time To Pause' And Review Common Core

    Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

    Sen. Scott Schneider, an Indianapolis Republican who wants Indiana to withdraw from the Common Core, speaks at a rally at the statehouse Wednesday.

    Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz would like to see a thorough review of the new Common Core academic standards in 2013.

    “I’m not really wanting to void Common Core as much as I’m wanting to review it,” says Ritz. She spoke Wednesday at a Senate Education Committee hearing.

    Indiana legislators are considering a proposal to withdraw from the Common Corea nationally-crafted set of academic standards already adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

    Sen. Scott Schneider, the Indianapolis Republican who filed the bill, says he’s worried the new standards aren’t as strong as what they’d be replacing.

    “I don’t think there’s anyone in this room that would challenge the goals” of the new standards, says Schneider. But he doesn’t believe the Common Core represents an internationally benchmarked set of college and career readiness standards.

    For her part, Ritz says it’s too soon to tell if the Common Core is a step in the right direction. She says she’s concerned about the number of Indiana students needing math remediation when they enter college.

    “We simply need to do a much better job in regards to mathematics in Indiana,” says Ritz. “Switching standards is not necessarily the answer.”

    She’d like to see Schneider’s bill amended to form a committee of parents, educators and policymakers to review the standards, then open it up for public comment.

    “It’s a good time to pause,” says Ritz. “That’s what I’m wanting to do. We’re starting to implement it, and so many concerns are coming up. So we want to pause, take a look at the standards and see what Indiana wants to do.”

    The State Board of Education adopted the Common Core standards in 2010 at the urging of then-state superintendent Tony Bennett, who pushed for broad changes to Indiana schools during his one term in office. He told StateImpact he wasn’t worried legislators would undo the education overhaul he pursued with former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

    But Schneider, who says he supports much of Bennett’s education agenda, remains steadfast in his opposition to the Common Core. He filed a similar bill last year after two parents approached him about what was being taught in their kids’ math class. He says requiring public, charter and private schools that receive voucher money to teach to the same standards will diminish school choice in Indiana.

    “All roads lead to one test,” Schneider says.

    The Senate Education Committee will hear testimony on the Common Core until 6 p.m. Wednesday. Go here and select “Senate Chamber” to watch a live stream.


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