Parents, teachers rally against Common Core standards in Indiana schools

Ind. already has national math, English standards

INDIANAPOLIS - Lawmakers, teachers and parents rallied Wednesday at the Statehouse for a bill that would withdraw Indiana from Common Core State Standards, a national set of academic standards adopted in dozens of states.

People who oppose the Common Core initiative argue decisions about educating children need to be made locally and not in Washington.

"Indiana parents and teachers should be in control of standards and testing, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.," said parent Heather Crossin.

Last year, Indiana adopted national standards for math and English.

Crossin approached Sen. Scott Schneider, questioning the new math standards, calling them fuzzy math and less challenging.

"The standards themselves are lacking," said Schneider, R-Indianapolis. "There are many subject matter experts that will tell us we're going backwards in English, language arts and math… that our current state standards are superior."

Schneider said Common Core "dumbs down" Indiana's former standards. 

At a packed hearing on the bill Wednesday, Schneider told lawmakers the initiative takes control of education away from local governments.

Former Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott told the committee why his state rejected the Common Core standards.

"It shouldn't have to take an act of Congress to change a third grade lesson plan," Scott said. "That's not what this is about. It's about restoring that authority to the people closest to the children."

But some education experts say the new standards give Indiana children a better shot at succeeding.

"The old standards that Indiana had just weren't cutting it," said Jay Kenworthy, with Stand for Children. "We were seeing a lot of students graduating, even the ones who were graduating from high school going to college and needing remediation…. Stand for Children supports Common Core here in the state of Indiana. It's going to be the set of standards that give our children the best opportunity to succeed in college and career."

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said the debate over implementing Common Core standards has created the opportunity for an important discussion.

"This discussion is not about rebuking the Common Core standards and returning to our former standards. It is about Indiana having a rich dialog about the individual standards that will guide our instruction," Ritz said.

The bill will be voted on by the Senate Education Committee next Wednesday.

This is the second time Schneider has tried to get this bill through.
 

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