(UNDATED) - Indiana's new academic standards are a step closer to adoption, causing some of Governor Pence's supporters to accuse him of going back on his word.
The Education Roundtable, which is co-chaired by the governor and State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz, voted overwhelmingly for the K-12 standards that will replace the Common Core starting next school year. The Roundtable is made up of teachers, administrators, state lawmakers and community leaders and was formed in 1999, with the intent of writing standards. The vote was 21-to-2, with one member abstaining for the English/Language Arts standard and 21-to-3 for the new math standard.
Just after a motion to adopt the standards was made, Pence announced his support for them, drawing boos and jeers from a crowd affiliated with Hoosiers Against Common Core. The group had held a rally earlier in the day at the Statehouse urging the Roundtable to reject the standards, saying they are essentially the same as Common Core. "When the Governor spoke and said he would support this re-branded version of Common Core, I knew the die was cast," said Heather Crossin (CROSS-in), a parent who was one of the original Common Core opponents. "All along, Hoosier citizens had put their faith in him, because they believed him. They believed the words he said at his State of the State address. Unfortunately, what he delivered wasn't that. He failed to deliver his promise."
That promise, Pence said, was to have academic standards "written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers." The governor says the Department of Education, working with Indiana teachers as well as out-of-state experts, accomplished that. "My focus is entirely on the kids in Indiana, entirely on us having a process that had real integrity to it, where we could focus on creating standards that would serve the interest of our kids," Pence said after the meeting. He said he respected what opponents had to say and that it was their right to oppose the standards, but the governor believes the state has created standards that are higher than Common Core as well as Indiana's previous standards.
Analysts on both sides of the argument have said the new standards borrow heavily from Common Core, something Ritz vigorously disputed after the meeting. "These are Indiana college and career ready standards. That's what they are," she repeated when asked twice about the overlap.
The State Board of Education will take a final vote on the standards next Monday. Still to be determined is a test that will be given to students to determine if they are meeting the new standards. Ritz says they have plenty of time to do so, since the assessment will not be given until the Spring of 2016.
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