Indiana on Monday became the first state to formally withdraw from the Common Core education standards in a move that did little to appease critics of the national program, who contend the state is simply stripping the “Common Core” label while largely keeping the benchmarks.
Indiana was among 45 states that in recent years adopted Common Core standards spelling out what students should be learning in math and reading at each grade level. Some conservatives have since criticized the initiative as a top-down takeover of local schools, and in signing legislation Monday to pull Indiana from the program, Republican Gov. Mike Pence trumpeted the move as a victory for state-level action.
The state began moving away from Common Core last year, when Indiana lawmakers “paused” its implementation. This year, the Republican-controlled Legislature approved a measure requiring the State Board of Education to draft new benchmarks for students.
The draft for those standards, put out for review last month, has drawn skepticism from Common Core critics, including an analyst hired by Pence to assess the program. That analyst, retired University of Arkansas professor Sandra Stotsky, says the proposal is too similar to Common Core.
Stotsky released an internal Indiana Department of Education report that found that more than 70 percent of the standards for sixth through 12th grade are directly from Common Core, and about 20 percent are edited versions of the national standards. About 34 percent of English standards for kindergarten through fifth grade were taken straight from the national standards, and an additional 13 percent were edited.
Stotsky called the proposal a “grand deception.” The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote April 28.