Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

With New Senate Bill, Indiana Would Slow Common Core Review

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, talks with Sen. Tim Skinner, D-Terre Haute, before the third Common Core panel.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, talks with Sen. Tim Skinner, D-Terre Haute, before a Common Core panel.

The “pause” in Indiana’s rollout of the nationally-crafted Common Core academic standards would stretch into yet another year if state lawmakers adopt legislation filed this week.

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, has proposed giving the State Board of Education an extra year — until July 1, 2015 — to continue its review of the Common Core, adopt a set of academic standards and select a statewide test to match those standards.

The bill would prolong a touchy dispute over the most basic expectations Indiana sets for its students at all grade levels at a time when key state lawmakers appear to be growing weary of the fight. (House Speaker Brian Bosma called the Common Core debate a “distraction” late last year.)

Most State Board members have voted for the Common Core in the past, and Kenley’s proposal wouldn’t prevent them from re-adopting the standards without amendment. The bill also says the board “may include elements of the Common Core” in whatever standards they write next.

But Common Core opponents say Indiana’s ready to go it alone.

“Indiana’s going to write its own standards,” said Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, who led the statehouse push to halt the Common Core’s implementation last year.

“We’re going to have some independence from the federal government, federal involvement in education,” Schneider added. “These are going to be Indiana initiatives with input from teachers, parents and subject matter experts from Indiana, institutions of higher learning in Indiana.”

The bill also includes provisions designed to safeguard the privacy of student data, which Common Core proponents such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce say they would support.


  • Bob Crum

    I liked this site better when it strived for balance. No quote from supporters.

  • ericnentrup

    I’m eager to hear Schneider’s evidence how intentionally forfeiting a nationwide network of the best teachers, curriculum writers, and software developers is in the best interest of Indiana students.

    • Kim Vilmann Ferraro

      What nationwide network of “the best teachers, curriculum writers and software developers” are you talking about? If you think that is what is in the Common Core State Standards, you’d better go back and do your homework again, and try looking on something besides the CCSS propaganda web site. Sadly, independent comparison has shown that Indiana’s current standards in math are equal to or better than the CCSS, but you won’t see that on the CCSS website.

      • ericnentrup


        I’m with you on the lateral shift that you’re referring to. The Fordham Institute famously published their study comparing. In fact, Indiana was a notch ahead. So why even bother, right?

        The network I’m talking about is the one I’m already a part of in the work I do for with a nationwide group of the most incredibly talented teachers with whom I’ve ever been in the same room. Beyond that, I’ve been interacting organically with other likeminded teachers on Twitter, through conferences like Teacher Voices Convening, and numerous software developers who are now interested in investing in education because they can appeal to ALL schools and grades in the US. The same holds true for publishers that will emerge and offer a more diverse array of tools for us to use in our classrooms.

        I’d love to see some links for those propaganda sites you mention. The only ones that I know about are the sites opposing the CCSS, often affiliated with or backed by those involved with funding or advocating for the Tea Party. Not knowing your affiliations, I guess this point right here could be the “agree to disagree” moment.

        Kim, I can understand concern for a “who moved my cheese” sort of situation. It really looks like that. But in the three years I’ve been using them in my high school classroom, I know I’m challenged as a teacher to push my students to be able to read, write, think, produce, create, analyze, discuss, and present on a plane higher than when I was writing lessons aiming at the Indiana DOE ELA standards. Of course, no set of standards is a silver bullet nor is it the end all be all. You and I both want to be as sharp as we can for our students and help them strive.

        Thanks for your time.


    • Clyde Gaw

      Best teachers? The CCSS was developed by non-educators whose interests are related to profit and indoctrination of children as human capital:

      • ericnentrup


        Not to punt, but I’ve responded to Kim and Marilyn above and hope to encourage you to see those thoughts in response to yours. I took a look at your link and can see how David Coleman’s comments sound ridiculous.

        Fortunately, he wasn’t the only person in the room, and the bigger thing to take away from that is his humility in approaching the task. The thing is, if your comment is even half true, maybe even if it was only 10% true, I certainly don’t mind milking the CCSS for all it’s worth in my classroom and instructional planning.

        “Mr. Eric, your class is hard! I don’t like it!”

        “Why, Olivia?”

        “Because YOU make me have to think!”

        That was one of the highest compliments a student has ever paid me,and the Common Core is at least in some way responsible for guiding my instructional planning to have earned it.

        Thanks for your time.


        • Clyde Gaw

          Eric, when did professional, expert teachers ever not engage children with curricula and learning experiences designed to encourage higher level thinking?

          Your suggestion that David Coleman has humility just made me choke: Coleman and his cohorts at Scholastic are now positioned to make billions by aligning the CCSS with PARCC. My question is who ordered up the CCSS in the first place? It certainly wasn’t parents, teachers or students. I do have a clue. Members of the opulent minority concerned they will not have enough human capitol to fuel the corporate machine. NOT KIDDING.

          Focused Instruction to pass a high stakes test is NOT an education that the opulent elite are particularly interested in for their own children. What does that mean?

          Eric, ask yourself these questions: When did teachers begin to teach to the test in order to ensure children will pass high stakes tests? How pervasive is radical behaviorism in American schools? See my first comment on two kinds of education in this World.

          The CCSS and standardized high stakes testing are a twofer.
          You get one with the other.

          Centralizing educational activities through a national curricula and homogenizing learners through CCSS and enforcing this experience through standardized high stakes testing is what is done in totalitarian states. Is that the education system the US should be emulating?

  • Marilyn Arney

    ericnentrup – that is just the problem – the common core standards were not written by a network of best teachers and curriculum writers – although they were supported by software developers – go read the standards for 5 year old kindergarteners before posting opinions about these standards being in the best interest of Indiana students – by the way I am a high school math teacher so I think I am qualified in saying CC is a waste of time and money and the only ones who benefit are those software developers as they push to have all students whose parents can’t affort top class private schools just hand their kids a laptop and pretend they are being educated.

    • ericnentrup


      Thanks for responding. I’m a English teacher at Indy Met HS and have been building lessons on the CCSS for the better part of three school years now.

      You’re right about not wanting to turn schools into a giant computer lab without interaction and guidance from teachers. That stated, I’m sure you and I are also in agreement that we DO want our students working on computers and other technology because regardless of the standards, regular (and authentic) work on such tools is what prepares them for what comes next in college and career. I mean, look at us having this conversation!

      The thing is whether we teach math or English, we certainly want our students to leave us intellectually better off than we found them at the beginning of the school year.

      So, I took your advice and went back to look at the kindergarten standards since admittedly I’m more concerned with those standards closer to the “12″ than the “K”. I took a random sampling from the ELA side (if you’ll indulge me admitting I’m NOT the math teacher). Here’s a few (feel free to scan them and not get buried in having to read them all…I’m not sure how to do this without actually including them here.):

      ELA Literacy


      • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

      • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

      • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.


      • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place, thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts).

      • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.8 With prompting and support, identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.

      • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.9 With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).


      • (W.K.4 begins in grade 3)

      • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.5 With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

      • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.6 With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

      I reviewed these carefully, and tried to imagine myself in the kindergarten classroom (something I’m sure is as equally frightening to a kindergarten teacher trying to imagine themselves in OUR classrooms!). That was too abstract for me, so I had to think about my niece Annabelle, who’s now in 2nd grade, and my nephew Eddie who’s about to enter kindergarten this coming year.

      Both of these kiddos are not only ready to be engaged in mastering these standards, they are ones I WANT them to one able to do at or by end of Kindergarten. How ’bout you? Is your complaint with the math side of things?

      And, Marilyn, you’re right about being skeptical of something’s source. When it comes to the origins of the standards themselves, I wasn’t there. Aliens could’ve delivered them. But the grounds for that happening are just as suspect as the grounds for this being a massive overreach of the feds. What I do know is that highly qualified teachers and former teachers I know personally were there throughout the process and unless they’re lying to me, have per and again talked to me about how teachers, school leaders, and other people we have trusted before the Common Core were all involved iteratively. Beyond that, this massive undertaking is not “one and done”. We can count on there being various opportunities to nip, tuck, and revise for future iterations of the standards, much like we see with our favorite software, vehicles, and other things that improve from cycle to cycle. This is the 1.0 for both the standards and the assessments.

      Regarding my comment, I’ve helped for the past two years in building a repository of short lessons geared towards teaching the outcomes of the CCSS, and that process has been invigorating. It’s made me a better (but still not “best) curriculum and lesson planner. But more so, it’s introduced me to a collaborative notion that because of the CCSS, I’m now sharing more in common from the entire nation. The larger pool simply means higher probability for the best teachers creating the best materials for reaching even our most struggling learners. Keeping the walls up at the state lines keeps those lessons from being quite as transferrable. Think of it as the difference between an old pair of scissors and a fresh Exacto knife. They both cut, but the sharper edge is more useful with less effort (and risk, and time…).

      I’ve gone on and on here, and will cut myself off for the time being. I’d like to hear more from you about how you think they’re doing more harm than good.


      • Clyde Gaw

        The problem here Eric is that children are not blank slates and they are not passive recipients of knowledge…You have not presented to us a conception of the human mind nor an explanation of why the CCSS are so great that taxpayers should pay billions of dollars for the “new & improved standards,” high stakes standardized tests and all the ancillary products that come with them. Please tell us how LearnZillion and your specially created CCSS aligned lessons will improve children’s receptivity and motivation to learn? From my perspective the children have had no voice in the lesson activities you have planned for them, nor have the children consented to participate in them. Do you even know the children you have designed the lessons for?

  • Kim Vilmann Ferraro

    I am lost why anyone thinks that CCSS adoption could take place in a manner that would allow “the board “may include elements of the Common Core” in whatever standards they write next.” The CCSS are copyrighted. Adoption is all or nothing with only 15% of content being able to be tweaked at the state level. I’m really disappointed when reporters and people in charge of making these decisions don’t even know their subject matter.

  • Clyde Gaw

    Why do the opulent minority send their children to schools where standardized education and standardized testing do not exist?

    There are two types of education in this World.

    The first is to educate children so they will have a chance to unfold, unhindered by forces that would divert them from their natural progression of development.

    The second form of education can be seen in totalitarian nations where the state imprints onto children’s minds what the state values.

    • RyanThePatriot

      Clyde, so very well said. Keep up the good work – I know it’s a long road ahead to pull back the veil enough so even the fluffiest of sheep can see it. It’s people like you that can be thanked for the major push back Common Core has finally been getting over the past 2 years or so.

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