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Posted on Wed. Oct. 02, 2013 - 06:22 pm EDT

No agreement among Indiana lawmakers over Common Core

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers studying the state's use of a national set of reading and math education standards haven't been able to decide whether they recommend those be kept, changed or dropped.

The six Republicans and six Democrats on the committee voted Tuesday to approve a report with no direction on how the state should proceed with the Common Core State Standards. The committee was formed after the General Assembly this spring approved a bill "pausing" implementation of the standards, which had been adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010.

Committee co-chairman Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, said a proposal to drop the Common Core and implement Indiana-designed standards has been considered by panel members, but hasn't gained enough support.

Behning, who has supported the Common Core standards, said he had hoped for a consensus among the committee members.

"We're not too far away from getting some agreement, but at this point in time we don't have it," he said.

Some legislators have complained that Indiana has lost control over local schools by using the teaching standards developed by a national group of state school officials and since adopted by more than 40 states.

The committee's nonbinding recommendations would go to the State Board of Education, which is to hold at least three more public hearings on the standards and their future by next July.

Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, said he wanted to see Indiana create new standards that borrow from the Common Core and the state's previous standards.

"I heard from parents, teachers and community members that Indiana must maintain its sovereignty with regard to our education standards, and withdrawing from Common Core allows us to do just that," Yoder said.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence supported the move to suspend implementation of the national standards for a year while the new state reviews are conducted.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and other Common Core supporters say the state's education officials have been reviewing the benchmarks for years and that the additional review isn't necessary. They also point to organizers of the ACT and SAT exams expecting students to meet those benchmarks.

Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, said the debate over standards adopted under former Republican state schools superintendent Tony Bennett was politically driven and "much ado about nothing."

"I think Common Core is common sense," Rogers said. "We need to have standards that for any student moving from state to state — we do live in a mobile society — the expectations would be the same."


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