With Tuesday’s adoption of new state education standards in English and math, it is now time to move on to the real job — teaching to those standards.
The standards replace the national Common Core State Standards, of which Indiana was an early adopter only to put the plan on hold just as teachers and school systems were moving forward to match their lesson plans and classroom activities to those requirements,
Common Core, a national education guideline adopted by 45 states, was drawn up by a coalition of educators from across the country. Although its reach is national and is designed to provide a more uniform education from state to state, it is not a federally mandated program. Still, it came under attack largely from conservative groups who identified it as yet another intrusion by Washington into state and local affairs that shouldn’t concern the federal government.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a law in March that marked Indiana’s official withdrawal from the national standards plan, making it the first state to drop them.
The standards adopted Tuesday by the Indiana State Board of Education will replace Common Core.
Republican Pence and Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, frequently at odds on many fronts, joined forces to support the new standards, along with nine of the 10-member state board.
Conservative opponents maintain their criticism, complaining bitterly that Indiana’s standards are simply Common Core in disguise, or Common Core with a little window dressing.
A look at the standards themselves reveals a highly detailed rubric that outlines specific skills development in various study areas for math and English. For example, standard 4.M.1 (a math standard dealing with measurement skills for fourth graders), “requires that the child be able to “Measure length to the nearest quarter-inch, eighth-inch, and millimeter.”