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State approves new K-12 standards

Board OKs Common Core replacement 11-1

– The Indiana Board of Education voted 11-1 Monday to approve new “college and career ready” academic standards after a monthslong process meant to reverse course from the controversial Common Core program.

Dozens of Hoosier residents spoke against the new standards before the vote, saying much of the language was taken from Common Core.

“You have the power to be more than just a rubber stamp,” said Stephanie Engelman of Brownsburg. “We spent a year and you came out with a sloppy rewrite of Common Core. Let’s go back to our previous standards and take our time to develop standards that are truly superior.”

Another speaker critical of the standards said: “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck. It is Common Core.”

Common Core are education standards crafted by the states that have become a political hot potato. Some residents believe they are being used to federalize education.

But Tim McRoberts, principal at Speedway High School representing the Indiana Association of School Principals, said the group is in favor of the standards and teachers and principals are ready to move forward.

Gordon Hendry, a member of the state Board of Education, supported the new math and English language arts standards, saying “we want kids to be prepared for the real world.

“I hope that with this conversation behind us we can stick with these standards and make sure we aren’t continuously moving the goalpost on our students.”

And board member Andrea Neal voted against both, saying that “we are about to vote on math standards that leading mathematicians have described as poorly organized and erroneous.

“It is malpractice to approve new standards that make no sense to mathematicians,” she said.

The new standards process has involved Indiana experts and educators across the state, with a goal of identifying the standards most closely aligned with the skills Hoosier students need for success in college and career.

This label is necessary to keep a federal waiver under the No Child Left Behind act.

Those involved chose specific standards from versions used by the state in recent years or identified as high quality, including the recently abandoned Common Core.

The process was handled by the Indiana Department of Education and the Center for Education and Career Innovation.

It involved hundreds of Indiana teachers, thousands of public comments and several national standards experts.

The new standards go into effect July 1. Local school districts create their own curriculum and lesson plans based on the standards.

The next step on the state level is to craft an accountability test that aligns to the standards, aka a new ISTEP test. It will be in place for the 2015-16 school year.

nkelly@jg.net

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