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December 1, 2013

Indiana GOP leaders ready to scrap Common Core

INDIANAPOLIS — The Republican leaders of the General Assembly want Indiana to scrap the Common Core education standards and have the state adopt its own guidelines to prepare students for college and careers, a report Sunday said.

House Speaker Brian Bosma of Indianapolis and Senate President David Long of Fort Wayne have said they will direct the Republican-controlled Legislature to require the state to create its own set of reading and math standards separate from Common Core, The (Munster) Times reported.

"This phrase 'Common Core' has now become such a distraction," Bosma said. "It is the only thing that approaches the phrase 'Obamacare' with concern and violent reaction around the state."

The Common Core standards were established by governors and state school chiefs to create a shared understanding of what students should know and be able to demonstrate at each grade level. Indiana was among the first states in the country to adopt them in 2010 on the recommendation of former schools Superintendent Tony Bennett and former Gov. Mitch Daniels, both Republicans. Forty-five states have adopted them, but several are looking at dropping them.

Indiana "paused" its implementation of Common Core this year while a legislative study committee examined them. The six Republicans and six Democrats on the panel weren't able to decide whether to recommend keeping, changing or dropping Common Core.

"To solve the argument about it we need to move forward independently, but incorporate and be compatible with the ACT and the SAT (standardized tests), and I think we can make that happen," Bosma said.

Prompted in part by tea party activists, Republicans in 2012 began to question Common Core after the standards were endorsed by Democratic President Barack Obama.

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said most Democrats support Common Core because similar standards enable states to see what's working best in education and ensures children who move from state to state aren't way ahead or way behind at their new schools.

"There's so much anger about the federal government right now that we can tell ourselves that just because the federal government mouthed the words, that the words themselves are wrong," Pelath said. "That's a mindset that we need to get past."

Since Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the Common Core "pause" in May, teachers across the state have continued to use school-chosen curricula based on Common Core standards, but also have had to teach to former state standards.

 

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