Indiana has a great opportunity to implement education standards that are “written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, and are uncommonly high,” as Governor Mike Pence (R) wants to do. One option for doing this would be to re-adopt Indiana’s prior state standards.
Before the advent of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Indiana staked out higher ground by adopting well-regarded math standards (2000). It resisted the pull felt by so many states to dumb down their expectations in order to meet the performance metrics associated with NCLB, adopting ambitious academic goals for K-12 Hoosier students in 2006 and then updating its math standards once again in 2009.
Those standards were widely praised, even by Common Core proponents.
Achieve, Inc., for example, said Indiana’s 2009 K-8 mathematics standards were “intellectually demanding” and would prepare students for “success in college and in their careers.” The Fordham Institute, a proponent of Common Core, gave Indiana’s prior English standards a grade of “A” and said that they “are clearly better than Common Core.” It noted that quality of the math standards, which they gave an “A,” were equal to that of Common Core:
Indiana’s [English] standards are clear, specific, and rigorous, and include nearly all of the critical content expected in a demanding, college-prep curriculum.… Indiana’s [math] standards are well organized and easy to read. They cover nearly all of the essential content in both elementary and high school with depth and rigor. They include examples throughout and offer excellent guidance to learning mathematics.
Regrettably, in 2010 the Indiana State Board of Education followed the crowd of many other states and jumped on board the Common Core bandwagon.
When Governor Pence came into office in 2013, he moved swiftly to bring control of Indiana’s standards and testing back to the state, calling for Hoosiers to pull out of Common Core.
Indiana has the chance to reclaim its position as having some of the most rigorous standards in the country by simply replacing Common Core with its excellent 2000 mathematics standards (which were updated in 2009) and its 2006 English language arts state standards.
Under Pence’s leadership, Indiana became a trailblazer, exiting the national standards push and showing other states that it’s possible. Re-adopting their prior math and English standards would ensure that Indiana has some of the highest standards in the country—standards that are state-driven and, most importantly, supported by teachers and parents.
The state has until July 1 to do it.