A Republican-backed bill to void the Common Core passed a Senate committee Wednesday.
Under Senate Bill 91 – authored by Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis – Indiana would revert back to education standards in place prior to June 30, 2010 when the State Board of Education first approved and started phasing in Common Core.
Last year, lawmakers voted to pause Common Core and ordered state education officials to study whether to continue the implementation or switch to Indiana-written standards. Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the state board have been working through that process. SB 91 would end the study and order Indiana-written standards.
Schneider said he has “faith and trust” the new standards will be Hoosier approved.
“We are moving forward, we are moving away from Common Core and on with our own Indiana standards,” Schneider said. “That protects students’ sovereignty that protects student data and starts the process all over again.”
Common Core is a group of curriculum standards developed by a group of state policy makers and since embraced by the federal government. Forty other states also adopted the Common Core standards.
Three years ago, Indiana adopted the standards for math and English but opted out of the science, social studies and history standards set by the Common Core. Since then, the standards have become increasingly controversial.
“I believe that if Indiana does not adopt the common core, other states will follow, therefore protecting all children in the United States from government control,” said Joan Billman, a mother, grandmother and concerned citizen.
Several lawmakers said they were worried that straying away from the Common Core standards would leave Hoosier students unprepared for college entrance exams.
Schneider said he learned after speaking with representatives of the ACT and SAT – two key standardized tests for college – that Hoosier students would not be at a disadvantage “as long as Indiana adopts college and career ready standards.”
“The consensus of the state is that we are moving beyond the Common Core,” Schneider said.
According to the bill the new education standards – must meet international benchmarks, use the highest standards in the United States, comply with federal standards, prepare students for college, maintain Indiana sovereignty and protect student data.
The bill passed the Education Committee, 8-3, with opposition from Democrats.
The bill comes after a legislative committee created to study whether Indiana should continue implementing the Common Core standards adjourned without making a recommendation. Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis, was the lone Democrat to attend that meeting and voted against a Republican recommendation that Indiana abandon the Common Core standards. The recommendation failed.
“I can’t vote for a bill that I know hasn’t been vetted by everybody,” said Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis. “Not everybody has had their opportunity to testify.”
Paige Clark is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.