Pence, Ritz pull state out of group creating tests for Common Core
Lesley Weidenbener | Evansville Courier & Press
3:40 PM, Jul 30, 2013
4:35 PM, Jul 7, 2016
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Gov. Mike Pence has acted to withdraw Indiana from an organization that supports the implementation of the Common Core curriculum in schools and the state’s top educator plans to do the same.
Our partners at the Evansville Courier & Press report Pence sent a letter to the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers seeking to end the state’s involvement with the group, which is developing a common set of K-12 tests and assessments in English and math. Those tests would have replaced ISTEP.
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz said Monday she will submit a similar letter to the group’s governing board chairman, which will make the state’s withdrawal official.
The moves come just months after the Indiana General Assembly voted to pause the implementation of Common Core while state officials take a second look at the standards, which were created by state education groups and have been endorsed by President Barack Obama’s administration.
The legislative part of that study begins Aug. 5.
Ritz said she believes the new state law actually requires Indiana to drop out of PARCC.
Pence said in a statement Monday that he believes “it is the right and responsibility of the state to make independent, fiscally responsible decisions regarding standards and assessments for the good of all the people of Indiana.”
“Indiana’s educational standards must be rigorous, enable college and career readiness and align with postsecondary educational expectations to best prepare our children to compete with their national and global peers,” Pence said.
The state Board of Education voted in 2010 to phase in Common Core to replace the state’s own standards. That move which went relatively unnoticed at the time became controversial as parents and educators began to review textbooks and other materials based on the Common Core, although supporters of the standards say their concerns are unspecific and not well founded.
Justin Ohlemiller, executive director of Stand for Children, a group that supports Common Core, said the move by state leaders was not a surprise.
“A few other states are going down this same path as the fluid process of developing the next generation assessment continues,” Ohlemiller said in a statement. “The fact is PARCC is only one option that aligns with college and career ready educational standards, and it makes sense for Indiana to keep our options open.
He said Indiana could later choose to use PARCC-created assessments, which he said have been “shaped to date with a great deal of input from Indiana academic experts.”
Ohlemiller said his group looks forward to the Common Core study and is confident the state will stick with the standards.
“If we care about ensuring Hoosier students are ready to compete for the jobs of tomorrow and are prepared for college on day one, then our state needs to stay the course on the Common Core,” he said.