Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Indy Star: Key Questions To Ask As Indiana Pursues Common Core Pause

    Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

    Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, speaks at a rally at the statehouse in January. After his initial proposal to stop Common Core implementation stalled, Schneider attached 'pause' language to another education bill.

    Opponents of the Common Core celebrated a victory Thursday after a proposal to “pause” implementation of the new standards cleared a key statehouse hurdle. But as the Indianapolis Star‘s Scott Elliott points out, what’s next for the Common Core isn’t clear:

    The exact timeline of the “pause” isn’t yet clear, but it sounds like the summer and fall will allow for legislators to study the issue and the public to give feedback. The big unknown is who gets to make the final decision about whether to move forward with Common Core? Is it the state board, where the decision was made to go with Common Core in 2010? If so, the board couldn’t be more strongly supportive of Common Core right now. Or will it be the considerably more skeptical lawmakers who get to decide? That would be a big shift, as education standards have traditionally been wholly a matter for the state board and the Indiana Department of Education.

    If the timeline is to have a decision, say, by the end of 2013 and the state board gets to make the call, that would be reassuring to Common Core supporters. If the decision is left up to the 2014 legislature, that would be a win for opponents. We’ll have to see the final language, assuming something passes by the end of the month, to answer that question.

    Beyond the political battle, there are some bigger picture, practical questions for policymakers to consider. For example, does it even matter if Indiana develops its own standards?

    As we’ve written, publishers are already aligning textbooks to the new standards, and Elliott points to a piece Chester E. Finn, president of the pro-Common Core Fordham Institute, penned last week asking if the testing consortia will wither away. Part of Indiana’s waiver from federal No Child Left Behind accountability includes adoption of college and career ready standards. That means even if Indiana steps away from Common Core, the state might be left with similar standards.


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