Common Core Foes Go Knocking on Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s Door

indiana-state-capitolAt 9:30am (EST) this morning at the Indiana State Capitol Common Core opponents are going to be delivering a letter to Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  It reads:

We, the undersigned, representing diverse grassroots organizations from across the state of Indiana, oppose the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and membership in the Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC).  We further oppose participation in all consortia and agreements, including PARCC and the Common Core State Standards Initiative, that cede any measure of Indiana’s governance of its standards and testing.

We agree that academic standards should be set high with assessments that adequately assess student growth and school performance. We do not oppose use of a nationally normed-referenced test, chosen by the school and reflective of the school’s curriculum . In order to retain choice in our private and public schools, we believe there should be a variety of approved tests available, not one.

The Common Core is not the instrument to raise student achievement in Indiana.  Its centrally controlled standards lack both field testing and international benchmarking. No evidence can be shown that Common Core will lead to student gains or an improvement in Indiana. Furthermore, the Common Core subjects all students to a set of standards which are pedagogically laced with unproven methods and techniques, and which subvert independence in curriculum choice.

Establishing national standards and enforcing them with a high-stakes, federally funded test will mandate a national curriculum. No constitutional or statutory basis for national standards, national assessments, or national curricula exists. We agree that this is a violation of federal law.

We adamantly oppose the adoption of standards that are copyrighted and owned by an organization outside our state that has the sole authority to change or delete standards. We fear the influence of special interest groups and the heavy hand of the federal government over our remaining state standards.

We disagree with the content, development, governance and requirements of the PARCC testing. Participation in this federally funded testing consortium impedes our state’s ability to develop and implement assessments suited to the expectations of students in our state.

The technical requirements of administering the PARCC test will drain our financial resources and place an unfunded mandate on school districts. Alarming figures are surfacing about the cost of Common Core implementation. It is fiscally irresponsible for Indiana to proceed without a cost analysis.

Finally, the testing consortium will dictate test cut scores, definitions of special learners, test accommodations, testing dates, content, test scoring procedures and security provisions. Indiana needs to be the sole voice in these decisions, not one of many states.

Governor Pence, you were elected, in part, because you share the principles of fiscal responsibility and local governance.  In furtherance of those principles, we call on you to publicly voice support for SB193. We further call on you to appoint individuals to the Indiana State Board of Education, who share this philosophy; we note that the current members of the Board, who were appointed under the guidance of a state superintendent soundly rejected by the voters, do not share those principles.

We ask that you provide the bold leadership that is needed to return control of Indiana’s schools back to the state and to parents, where it belongs.

From the Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel:

By a 38-11 vote, the Indiana Senate last month passed a bill that would delay implementation so Hoosier lawmakers, parents and others would have more time to study Common Core’s contents, impact and costs. The letter to be delivered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday on the third floor of the state Capitol asks Pence to push for similar legislation in the House, said Judy Ross, who is active in Fort Wayne 9-12, one of several tea party-affiliated groups opposed to Common Core.

Ross said 10 groups representing 5,000 members have formed the Northern Indiana Citizens Coalition to oppose Common Core, and similar coalitions have been formed in central and southern Indiana as well. Ross and many other conservatives question the imposition of a national curriculum and the resulting loss of state and local control.

House Education Committee Chairman Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, has opposed taking decisions on school standards from the state Board of Education and has been reluctant to allow a vote on the Senate bill, Ross said.

We’ll be watching to see how Governor Pence responds.

Photo Credit: Holley St. Germain via Flickr (CC-By-NC-SA 2.0)