Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Ritz: After Common Core Review, ‘Indiana Will Be Adopting A New Set Of Standards’

State Board of Education member Brad Oliver and state superintendent Glenda Ritz listen during a January 2014 meeting.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

State Board of Education member Brad Oliver and state superintendent Glenda Ritz listen during a board meeting.

Many Hoosier educators took Gov. Mike Pence’s remarks about education standards in his State of the State address as an indicator Indiana is moving away from the Common Core.

Though Pence did not mention the nationally-crafted academic standards by name, he made clear he favored student expectations set at the state level during his annual address.

But it wasn’t news to the state’s top education official, who says that’s been the plan all along.

“We always adopt our own standards,” says state superintendent Glenda Ritz. “It just so happens that in 2010 the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core as its standards. We are reviewing those standards. I’m pretty confident there are going to be changes to those standards. And Indiana will be adopting a new set of standards.”

Ritz’s Department of Education is currently working with the State Board of Education to review the state’s academic standards — a requirement of Common Core “pause” legislation passed in 2013. But she says teams of educators and experts are also looking at the old Indiana Academic Standard indicators teachers were still using as the state made the switch to Common Core.

As a result, the end product won’t be based on any one set of standards.

“To just give a very simple, elementary example: In reading, you teach kids how to find the main idea in a passage,” says Ritz. “The main idea is found in Common Core. It’s found in our Indiana Academic Standards.”

Right now the State Board’s deadline for adopting new academic standards is July 1 — and Ritz says the education panel needs to hit their mark if they want to roll out new assessments in time for the 2015-16 school year.

Board member Andrea Neal doesn’t think Indiana needs the extra time state lawmakers have proposed.

“It isn’t that hard because we’ve got some exceptional models that are already out there,  including our prior standards,” she told StateImpact. “We are not reinventing the wheel.”

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