Indiana Common Core Repeal Bill Heads to Governor Pence

The Indiana Senate voted 35-13 today to concur with the House version of SB 91, Indiana’s Common Core Repeal bill, so the bill will head to Governor Mike Pence (R-IN).  Pence has expressed support for Hoosiers creating their own standards so it is likely he will sign the bill.

Chalkbeat Indiana points out that the original author of the bill, State Senator Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis) is not happy with some of the language in the bill:

The bill’s original author, Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, said he objected to language in the bill referencing Indiana’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Education releasing the state from some of the sanctions of the federal No Child Left Behind law. That waiver required Indiana to adopt “college and career ready” standards. It did not require Common Core but Indiana, at the time, said it would use Common Core.

Schneider said he opposed the federal education department’s practice of requiring states to change education policy to receive waivers or qualify for grants. Indiana would be better off to decline federal grants than agree to change its education system, he said.

“In order to get substantial amounts of federal dollars states have to adopt college and career ready standards or Common Core,” Schneider said.

Schneider said he objected to the federal government “directing us into adopting policies on a statewide level or we don’t get the money,” he said.

The bill’s only reference to the federal government is a section that permits the Indiana State Board of Education to renew its NCLB wavier.

“I think that’s unnecessary in this bill,” Schneider said.

I concur with Senator Schneider, it is unnecessary.  It also cedes sovereignty over to the Federal government, something no state should ever do whether it is for a competitive grant or conditional waiver.

Here is some good news in the standards rewrite front.  One of our friends will be in the process of evaluating the new standards.  I was forwarded an email from Chris Crabtree, Director of External Operations for Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who said they’ve reached out to Dr. Sandra Stotsky to help with their standards.

From: Chris Crabtree
Date: Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 9:52 PM
Subject: Gov. Pence asks Dr. Sandra Stotsky to assist in evaluation of Indiana’s academic standards
To:

Friends,

I am writing to let you know that Governor Pence contacted Dr. Sandra Stotsky today and she has agreed assist in the evaluation of Indiana’s academic standards. Her work in Indiana, Massachusetts and elsewhere is well documented. She is one of several national experts who are also participating as independent evaluators, and we look forward to their recommendations.

Parents, teachers and administrators have already submitted more than 1000 comments on the development of Indiana’s academic standards, and there is much work still to be done. The Governor is grateful that so many of you have taken an interest in ensuring that our students have the benefit of strong standards that will prepare them for success in careers, college and life.

Work to eliminate duplication and ensure consistency and transition between grades is ongoing and will continue to be informed by the public comments received online through March 12 at 11 p.m.

Thank you again for your interest in Indiana’s students and in making sure they have an education that equips them to succeed.

Chris

If Indiana’s ELA standards can mirror what she helped to do in Massachusetts that will be a major improvement.