State senator proposes to rein in national Common Core education standards
Says they area a step backward for Indiana
By Ellie Price
(Evansville Courier & Press, January 15th, 2013)
INDIANAPOLIS — A Republican state senator wants to pull Indiana schools off a set of national education standards that he said are a "step backward for Indiana."
In 2010, Indiana education officials took the first steps toward putting in place the Common Core standards that were developed by a group of state policy makers and have since been embraced by President Barack Obama.
Last year, Indiana adopted the standards for English and math, but Indiana has not implemented the science, social studies and history Common Core standards.
Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, said Indiana's own standards are "far superior" to those of Common Core. Their adoption, he said, has resulted in a loss of local input from parents, teachers and administrators.
His Senate Bill 193 would shift the state away from Common Core. He drafted the proposed legislation at the urging of Indianapolis mothers Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle.
Tuttle said Common Core led her third grader to learn "fuzzy math" taught out of sequence.
Tuttle said one textbook teaches students to subtract by starting in the hundreds, tens and then ones — opposite of the traditional way.
"It doesn't equip students with the math that's needed to get them to the next level," she said. "It's confusing to the children, and I think it slows things down for them."
Tuttle said after speaking with the teacher and principal about her issue with the curriculum, the Indiana Department of Education told her she would have to contact the national governance association to express her concern. She said she felt she did not have input on her child's education because of the national standards.
"Parents who have questions need a short distance between the problem and the solution," Tuttle said. "Common Core just makes that distance greater."
Schneider pushed a similar bill last year, but it tied in a vote in an education committee.
"The bill was heard on the last day," Schneider said. "There were 14 bills on the docket that day. With an issue as complex as this, there's a lot of information for legislators to digest. We literally ran out of time."
Although Schneider said he has received bipartisan support for his bill this session, Democrats for Education Reform in Indiana said in a statement the proposal would regress the progress Indiana has made in recent years regarding education.
They said Common Core establishes benchmarks for teachers and administrators nationwide. They said the standards wouldn't dictate how teachers instruct students and wouldn't shape curriculum but would provide clearer expectations of academic performance.
"There will always be opponents of any proposal to enact significant changes to the system," said Larry Grau, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform in Indiana. "However, we feel strongly that incredible thought and research have gone into structuring Common Core."