Dr. Terrence Moore of Hillsdale College needs to let loose and tell us how he really feels about the ELA standards, don’t hold back! No, just kidding, he writes a no-holds-barred review, and doesn’t give the standards good marks. An excerpt:
This absurd incongruity is one of the leading characteristics of the supposedly new Indiana English standards. We are invited to be overjoyed as we skip down the Yellow Brick Road to College and Career Readiness, preparing our children for a Twenty-First-Century Global Economy by putting them behind computers and by having them act out “assigned roles” for “small group discussions and projects” (as though project-based learning has not been tried and failed over these last forty years). Meanwhile, we have children being introduced to the word night in fourth grade, and we utterly fail to teach even the letter A properly.
The math standards still have fuzzy math.
The new draft begins with a preamble before the standards are listed claiming that the standards are not instructional practices: “The educators and subject matter experts that have worked on the standards have taken care to ensure the standards are free from embedded pedagogy and instructional practices.” This statement couldn’t be further from the truth and those who cut and pasted these standards know it. They simply don’t care because it is the type of pedagogy they prefer – parents and experts be damned.
The IDOE and Pence’s CECI were duly warned that Draft 2 contained pedagogy by Dr. James Milgram, the national expert they hired to help review the standards. Unfortunately, it seems theIDOE and CECI ignored Milgram’s recommendations, and contrary to their claim of pedagogy-free standards many of them remain laden with it. I have highlighted a few of the many standards that still contain pedagogy in the final draft released on Tuesday with Milgram’s comments from the review. What is the point of hiring an expert if you ignore his advice?
James Milgram gave some comments to The Indianapolis Star:
But Milgram said the panel lacked the expertise of professional mathematicians — not just math educators: “I realized that there was no way in hell that they were going to be able to make the changes that I had indicated needed to be made with that background. That’s exactly what happened.”
Andrea Neal, who serves on the Indiana State Board of Education, also weighed in:
State Board of Education member Andrea Neal said the state made a mistake by only asking for expert opinions on early drafts and not on the final one. Milgram and Wu looked over the final version on their own, with Milgram focusing on the high school math section and Wu examining a few key spots in math.
“This notion that standards have to be written by Hoosiers was faulty by the get-go,” Neal said. “They weren’t written by Hoosiers. They were really more paraphrased by Hoosiers. … We’re now at a place where maybe we recognize we just need the best standards in the country, and there’s not enough time to get the full feedback that we need.”
Neal said she planned to send a letter to members of the Education Roundtable urging them to reinstate Indiana’s pre-Common Core standards.
And to top it off the final draft will be voted on without any analysis.
Indiana has the chance to reclaim its position as having some of the most rigorous standards in the country by simply replacing Common Core with its excellent 2000 mathematics standards (which were updated in 2009) and its 2006 English language arts state standards.
Under Pence’s leadership, Indiana became a trailblazer, exiting the national standards push and showing other states that it’s possible. Re-adopting their prior math and English standards would ensure that Indiana has some of the highest standards in the country—standards that are state-driven and, most importantly, supported by teachers and parents.
The state has until July 1 to do it.
We’ll see what Governor Pence ends up doing with catastrophe rolling his way.