Indiana lawmakers finally get a closer look at Common Core standards

Aug 7, 2013 by

INDIANAPOLIS – The new national learning standards known as Common Core are finally being subjected to public scrutiny in Indiana.

On Monday, lawmakers heard more than six hours of testimony about the one-size-fits-all English and math academic standards that are being implemented in all but a handful of states, reports.

Indiana’s previous K-12 standards – which tell teachers which concepts to present to students at each grade level – were considered among the best in the nation. Some presenters at the hearing expressed concerns that the Common Core standards won’t be as effective as the ones they might replace.

That was the view of Bill Evers, an education expert with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

“The standards are mediocre. They’re not internationally benchmarked,” Evers told lawmakers, according to “You should go back to your old standards.”

Sandra Stotsky, an expert in English standards and a Common Core critic, agreed.

Stotsky noted that Common Core’s English standards focus heavily on so-called informational texts, instead of fictional literature. According to Stotsky, research shows that reading fiction stimulates students’ intellectual development better than reading nonfiction – which is why English teachers have traditionally taught literature, reports The Heartlander.

Pro-Common Core experts conceded that Indiana’s former standards were very well-written, but argued that the new, national benchmarks are slightly better.

Nothing was officially decided at the hearing, which was the first of three scheduled by lawmakers.

Lawmakers’ scrutiny of Common Core is required under a recent law that “paused” implementation of the new standards until legislators could examine their quality, cost and overall effect on Hoosier students.

After the state-mandated Common Core review is completed, the State Board of Education will take a fresh vote on whether or not to adopt the standards. That vote is expected by July of  2014, reports.

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz told lawmakers she doesn’t have any “preconceived notion” of what the state will ultimately decide.

Indiana lawmakers finally get a closer look at Common Core standards – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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