INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A legislative plan that would "pause" Indiana's
adoption of a national set of reading and math education standards has the
backing of Republican Gov. Mike Pence, although many questions surround
what that step would mean for the state's classrooms.
Pence said he was waiting to review the bill approved by legislators last
week that would suspend implementation of Common Core State Standards in
more grades for a year while new state reviews are conducted.
The extent of Pence's determination to change those standards might be
known this summer when he can replace six of 10 State Board of Education
members who've unanimously supported adopting the guidelines.
Pence said he believed the pause would allow time for state officials,
educators and the public to have more discussion about the teaching
standards developed by a national group of state school officials and
since adopted by 45 states. They are now being used in Indiana's
kindergarten and first grade classes, with all grades set to use them
starting in the 2014-15 school year.
"I don't come at it with any preconceived notion for or against," Pence
told reporters Monday. "My only bias is that we're going to do education
the Indiana way. We're going to set our curriculum in Indiana, for
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.
Critics maintain that Indiana's own school standards were better and that
adoption of the Common Core has cost the state control over its education
Democratic state schools superintendent Glenda Ritz, who took office in
January, has said she didn't believe enough public review was done before
the standards were adopted and supports the new round of public hearings.
Ritz spokesman David Galvin said the agency's staff was closely reviewing
the bill that underwent numerous changes in the final days of the
"We're trying to see what it means and the impacts, positive or negative,
on the state at this point," Galvin told The Indianapolis Star.
The bill calls for a legislative study committee to conduct at least three
public hearings on the standards and complete a report by November. The
State Board of Education would then have to review that report and conduct
at least three more public hearings for its new evaluation of the
standards by July 2014.
The state board approved adopting the standards in 2010 and voted
unanimously to reaffirm them after legislators began considering an
earlier version of the bill that would've withdrawn the state from Common
Pence didn't say whether he would consider the Common Core stance when
deciding whether to make changes to the state board.
"We're going to give Common Core a fair look and a serious look," he said.
Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said those appointments were on the
minds of legislators as they prepared the bill.
"We thought it best for two things to happen: one, for legislators to look
at this because we had not in the past, and two, to give the State Board
of Education an opportunity to look at it again after the governor's
appointments in July," Bosma said.