With the stroke of Gov. Mike Pence's pen, Indiana became the first state to back off implementing a set of national standards for grade-school education.
The standards, known as Common Core, had been adopted by 45 states, but have lately unleashed a political fight that blurs party lines.
The Indianapolis Star reports Pence signed a law on Monday that requires Indiana to come up with its own academic standards. The Star adds:
"'I believe our students are best served when decisions about education are made at the state and local level,' said Pence in a release about Senate Bill 91.
" 'By signing this legislation, Indiana has taken an important step forward in developing academic standards that are written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, and are uncommonly high, and I commend members of the General Assembly for their support,' he said.
"The two agencies working on revising the standards have set a goal of completing the final version by April 14. A week later, the Indiana Education Roundtable, consisting of educators and business representatives, will decide whether to recommend the version for passage by the State Board of Education on April 28."
Recently The Associated Press reported how the standards have divided Republicans, with establishment voices like Jeb Bush hailing the common standards, while Tea Party conservatives like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz decry the system as a federal takeover of local schools.
The AP adds:
"To a lesser extent, Democrats must deal with some teachers — their unions hold strong influence within the party — who are upset about implementation details. But it's the internal GOP debate that's on display in statehouses, across 2014 campaigns and among 2016 presidential contenders.
"The flap continues as students in 36 states and the District of Columbia begin this week taking field tests of new assessments based on the standards, although the real tests won't be given for another year."