Indiana’s Draft Standards: A Scoop of Common Core with Some Junk on Top?

The idea for pausing the Common Core in Indiana and then putting the kibosh on them is that the Hoosier state would actually come away with better standards.

Somebody needs to tell that to the review committee working on them.  I’ve already written that it looks like the math standards will continue to use fuzzy math.   Hoosiers Against Common Core have discovered a stacked deck on the panel.

Joy Pullman (who happens to be an Indiana resident) writes:

The new set of draft standards is making the rounds this week, as the state holds three public hearings to discuss them. Citizens are allowed three minutes each to comment on the standards at these hearings and are limited to discussing specific standards only.

But do not worry. The state asked Sujie Shin, of WestEd, to review the standards rewrite, and she says it “is the deepest she has observed and will be recommending Indiana’s process as a best practice for other states reexamining Common Core,” wrote state board of education member Brad Oliver in an open letter. WestEd is a quasi-governmental organization that happens to financially profit from Common Core as a contractor for national Common Core tests.

Hoover Institution fellow Ze’ev Wurman’s preliminary review of the draft math standards does not give us much hope about the process.

…this draft did not focus strongly enough on improving the glaring weaknesses of Common Core standards but instead made minor (and sometime negative) changes, and piled a whole lot of new content on top of already massive Common Core. The draft is more bloated than the Common Core, and immeasurably more bloated than the 2009 Indiana draft. To come up with a good, focused, and coherent set of standards will take much more effort than dump a pile of additional standards on top of the Common Core with little rhyme and reason.

Unfortunately Indiana State Board member Brad Oliver doesn’t seem to have a problem with the process or with the likely product.  In an interview with State Impact Indiana he was asked  whether or not there was any concern at the State Board level if these standards look too much like the Common Core, he responded:

If again you go back and start from the premise that college- and career-readiness is about making sure students have requisite skills and knowledge prior to being able to go to college without being remediated or go into a career, and you apply that uniformly to whatever standards they looked at, you’re going to see a certain percentage of the standards come through. That’s what forced consensus is about. It’s about a group of subject matter experts saying, we agree, this meets that criteria.

So if they don’t understand that part of the process or they did not watch that process and all they’re doing is comparing, then yes, that’s going to come up because it looks like, well you didn’t really change anything, when what happened was the evaluation panels are basically affirming that it was college- or career-ready or it wasn’t, and therefore we went with a different standard or we revised it somehow. It comes back to making sure people really understand the process.

These standards are not even getting a good review from Common Core advocates:

It’s not often proponents and opponents of Common Core agree.

But speakers on both sides of the aisle told state education officials Tuesday at a public hearing in Indianapolis there are just too many proposed academic standards to teach.

Schauna Findlay is president of the Indiana Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and reviewed the standards for the state’s pro-Common Core Chamber of Commerce. Findlay says the educator teams who developed the drafts have included more standards than teachers can get through in a year.

“Everything they said ‘this is a good standard’ was included in the draft standards without paying attention to have we now completely overloaded a particular grade level with additional content?” she says.

Findlay says in elementary math, Indiana has added a number of probability and measurement standards without subtracting anything.

“It’s not a viable set of standards,” Findlay says. “Teachers will have to pick and choose what they’re going to include because they can’t go to the level of depth they need to with every standard, which means kids will have disparate education and different gaps.”

The State Board is receiving a lot of backlash:

“It seems to be a done deal,” said Emily Camenisch, a homeschooler who came from more than two hours from Corydon. “I don’t think that’s acceptable. Maybe it’s a lost cause but you don’t stop fighting.”…

…“If the English standards are an improvement I don’t see it,” said Bonnie Fisher of the Bloomington-based group Global Education Reform Watch. “The standards are essentially the same as CCS (Common Core standards).”

Amy Nichols, who said she worked as a math specialist as a private school, estimated that half of the proposed algebra standards were identical to Common Core algebra standards.

The process, she said, is moving too fast for parents and others to make their concerns known.

“Why are we so rushed,” she asked, “especially when we already drafted standards in 2009? This draft of standards is going in the wrong direction.”

However will State Board members listen?

Even with such strong objections, state board member Gordon Hendry said he was not discouraged about the draft standards.

“The process is going well,” he said. “We’d like to have more input but it’s important we act quickly.”

Hendry said he was not concerned about the influence of Common Core on the standards because he was confident the state board would sort out those issues.

“Whatever is ultimately adopted,” he said, “will be Hoosier standards.”

I don’t share his confidence, and neither should Hoosier parents.  I’ll take a scoop of Common Core with some junk on top please.

Comments

  1. Lee Barrios says

    To say that the new (or revised) standards “look a lot like the CCSS)” should be no surprise as Much of CCSS was “borrowed” from state standards (with represent standards and benchmarks that professional associations of educators have developed and revisited for years and based on researched, proven, developmentally appropriate expectations). I am guessing that all states, like Louisiana, paid WestEd or other pseudo Ed group a pretty Penny to provide a crosswalk showing item by item what was added, deleted and kept the same. I suppose when the writers of CCSS felt they had created enough change forthe sake of change and their unqualified committee members devoid of practicing K-12 teachers had mixed it up enough to be able to claim rigor, they thre it out there. Why they chose to return to the failed New math of the 60s (now archived like extinct dinosaurs in Austin, Texas library) is a mystery. It is, however, one element of Common Core they could correctly say was based on research. The problem is that the research and proven failure of New math should have condemned it.