ANDERSON — Madison County educators are bracing for a new set of rules to guide education now that the national Common Core guidelines have been formally scrapped by the Indiana General Assembly.
Last week, Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill pulling Indiana from the program, making it the first state to withdraw from the Common Core reading and math standards that were adopted by most states around the country. State legislators earlier approved the measure requiring the State Board of Education to draft new standards outlining what students should be learning in each grade rather than using the Common Core standards.
Alice Johnson, superintendent of Alexandria Community Schools, takes a philosophical approach to the fierce political debate over whether Indiana should have continued with the national standards, or adopt new Indiana-specific standards.
“As there is nothing we can do about it, we simply adapt to what is handed to us,” Johnson said. “It does no good to sweat over that which is out of our control.”
More importantly, education standards, whether new or the national Common Core set of guidelines, represent minimum standards local schools must meet, and Alexandria-Monroe will never settle for a minimum standard, she said.
“Alexandria will continue to set our standards to not only match the required state standards, but to exceed those standards in both content and rigor,” Johnson said.
But Frankton-Lapel Community Schools Superintendent Bobby Fields said constantly changing standards pose difficulties for teachers and students alike, a view shared by Anderson Community Schools Assistant Superintendent Beth Clark.
“Let’s settle on something and get on down the road with this,” Fields said. “Whatever they settle on, it’s not going to be too far off from Common Core.”
Indiana was an early adopter of the Common Core standards, which were created by organizations representing the nation’s governors and school chiefs. The goal of the standards is to assure that high school graduates are prepared for college or careers.