FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE/AP) – A move to break away from most other states and create new education standards for Indiana schools has approval by the Indiana House. Lawmakers there voted 67-26 Thursday to nix the Common Core school standards currently in place.
The bill is similar to one previously approved by the Indiana Senate. It would set a July 1 deadline for the state board of education to draft new standards outlining what students should be learning in each grade.
Indiana adopted Common Core in 2010, and now 44 other states also have the same standards in place. The standards have become a hot topic with parents; some had said the standards are too tough. Others said the bar has been set too low.
NewsChannel 15 asked parents their thoughts about the standards on its Facebook page. Click here to read what parents had to say.
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s office will be responsible for making the new standards, and the Indiana Board of Education will have to get them the final green light.
“I think we’re going to end up with some really great standards for our kids so they’ll get the best,” Cari Whicker, the board member representing northeast Indiana, said.
The Common Core standards layout what students need to learn in both math and language arts. Indiana students are measured on Common Core standards in the third through eighth grades.
Whicker said standards for science and social studies would be created in the future.
“Common Core standards are college and career ready standards,” Whicker, who is a teacher at Riverview Middle School in Huntington, said.
Whicker said re-evaluating education standards is nothing new, and her board has been putting in work to find out what parents and teachers do and don’t like about what’s currently in place. “What is new is this mandate to have college and career ready incorporated into it,” she said.
Recently, the board of education has held public meetings in each region of the state to get public input.
“Some people are concerned that [Common Core standards] are too easy,” Whicker said. “Or, Indiana standards may have been higher previously. On the other side, we’ve also had people present at our hearings who said, there are certain parts of it that are too hard, and their children were frustrated. That’s why it’s important for feedback, to know what people are saying and adjust. We don’t want kids frustrated, but at the same time we want them to be the best.”
With 45 states following the same standards, students from those states, hypothetically, are all given the same opportunities in the classroom. Some Hoosiers however, rather see Indiana students held to higher standards, which could lead them to better careers, and get accepted into better colleges.
“We want to make sure we have the best Indiana standards possible for Indiana children,” Whicker said. “We as Hoosiers want Hoosier children to be at the top. So, if the standards are good enough for everybody, are we sure ours shouldn’t be even better than that?”
The board of education is continuing to gather public input. You can read more about the state standards and share your thoughts about what new standards should include by clicking here. The board will accept input up until March 12.
The house bill has support from many Republican lawmakers eager to have Indiana educators create standards specific to the state.
Opponents have questioned the deadlines set in the bill, which would also require testing on the new standards during the 2015-16 school year.
Effort by Democratic Rep. Kreg Battles of Vincennes to delay the testing deadline failed Wednesday.
Whicker said the board of education could approve new education standards at it’s April meeting, and added that she would prefer new standards be in place before the current school year ends.
“If we wait until July 1 to make a decision, or worse, we miss the deadline, then that puts teachers in a predicament,” Whicker said. “Great teachers spend the summer planning and that means their kids don’t get the best lessons in the classroom that year if we wait until summer to adopt new standards.”