Common Core Compromise Would Delay Implementation
Bill orders state to preserve enough of standards to keep federal money
Indiana would put Common Core curriculum implementation on hold till next summer while it conducts four separate studies of the plan, under a compromise under consideration in the General Assembly.
Legislators are reviewing a proposal to order the State Board of Education to develop its own standards by July of next year. In the meantime, the board would have to conduct three public hearings on Common Core. The bill also calls for reviews by the Department of Education, a legislative study committee, and the Office of Management and Budget, which would have to assess what it would cost to pull out of Common Core and what it would cost to complete implementation.
Senator Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis) had introduced a bill to withdraw from Common Core entirely, but scaled it back in committee to order a temporary pause while the reviews are underway. The Senate passed versions of that bill twice, but the House had refused to consider it. The bill was in legislative limbo for nearly two weeks before House leaders settled on a way to move the bill forward.
Schneider says if the board still wants to implement Common Core after a full review, that's the members' decision. He says he just wants to make sure Indiana sets its own standards without having the federal government dictate them.
Common Core began as a compact among the 46 states which have adopted it to set appropriate curriculum standards, but the Obama Administration has embraced the effort and used it as a stand-in for federal academic-standards requirements.
Education reform groups and the Indiana Chamber have endorsed Common Core, and have blasted the rollback effort in an ad campaign as the work of "far right and Tea Party" activists, although Democratic state school superintendent Glenda Ritz has also expressed doubts about the standards.
Chamber vice president Derek Redelman says the Chamber has no objection to the bill's proposal to review Common Core, but warns the state is gambling that the government won't penalize the state for even a temporary halt. Indiana's implementation of Common Core gives it a waiver from requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law. Losing that waiver could automatically lower the grades given Indiana schools, and cost the state federal funds.
The bill seeks to address those concerns by requiring the state to use Common Core as a "base model...to the extent necessary to comply with federal standards."
The House and Senate still need to approve the proposal.