Indiana News

Common Core Committee Fails To Pass Recommendation

Report doesn't get majority of board's vote after most Democrats stay away from meeting


The recommendation from a legislative summer study committee on Common Core education standards will be no recommendation.

The committee voted six-to-one in favor of a revised final report that came two weeks after what was thought to be a final report was issued. The November 1 report made no recommendation to the Legislature on the future of Common Core standards, which were adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010 but were "paused" by the Legislature during this year's session. Representative Justin Moed, the only Democrat attending the meeting, cast the only 'no' vote. But the report could not be advanced because it was not supported by a majority of the committee's members.

The revised report did not endorse Common Core, but it also didn't say Indiana should pull out of the standards. "It emphasizes that Indiana has sovereignty over our standards and will maintain sovereignty over our standards, that we want to use the best possible minds to put together standards," said Representative Bob Behning (R, Indianapolis), the co-chair of the committee.

Behning says while he respects the views of Republicans on the committee who are adamantly opposed to Common Core, "(the report) does not at all speak to Common Core. It doesn't say that we're pausing Common Core. It just says this is how we recommend that Indiana move forward in the future."

Common Core has supporters and opponents among both major political parties. Some Republicans argue that it amounts to a federal takeover of education standards, while some Democrats don't approve of Common Core's reliance on standardized testing. Common Core's supporters, which include President Obama, his Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the Republican former state school superintendent Tony Bennett, say the standards do not supercede standards set by states. They say Common Core also allows for better measurement of how much students in the U.S. know compared to other nations.

Democrats on the Common Core study committee say they had little notice of today's meeting. Moed says he found out about it a few days ago, and that he didn't see the language of the report until Thursday. "I thought this summer study committee was going to say 'here are Indiana's standards. Here are Common Core standards. Here's what the same, here's what's different. Let's see what we need and don't need.' We never really did that," Moed said.

Though Republicans deny it, some Democrats believe there was pressure among some conservative groups for the committee to issue an anti-Common Core report.  "It was really more of a dog-and-pony show about where the tea party stands on this issue," said Moed.  Five other Democrats on the committee did not attend the final meeting.

Behning says Republicans on the committee still plan to deliver the report to the State Board of Education, even though it didn't receive final committee approval.



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