Learn What NOT To Do On Standards Writing

Indiana has been the state most watched as “rejecting” Common Core Standards. In May 2013, Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill that halted implementation mandating more public hearings, and further review.   Then in January 2014, in the State of the State speech, the Governor said:

“When it comes to setting standards for schools, I can assure you, Indiana’s will be uncommonly high.  They will be written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers and will be among the best in the nation.”

A draft version of Indiana’s new college and career ready standards was released last month by the Indiana State Department of Education. However, it seems the standards continue to be controversial.

Even though Ze’ev Wurman is not a “Hoosier,” he IS an expert on math standards.  In 2010 Wurman served on the California Academic Content Standards Commission that evaluated the suitability of Common Core’s standards for California.  Hoosiers Against Common Core asked Wurman for his expertise in comparing the new Indiana math standards to the “Pre–Common Core” Indiana math standards and the Common Core. The “Pre-Common Core” Indiana math standards were some of the best in the country, and rated “A” by the Fordham Foundation.  Wurman’s comparison was released last week and is well worth the read. Here is a quick summary:

The most shocking difference is the number of standards added in the draft. It is a clear move away from the practice of fewer, clearer and deeper. The new math standards have over 455 standards in grades K-8, the Common Core only had 314. The highly acclaimed Indiana math standards from 2009 only had 171 standards in these grades. The analysis shows that most all of the Common Core standards are included in the new draft, even those which were hotly protested by parents and teachers. The inclusion of over 141 new standards masks the percent of Common Core standards that were included in the new draft. While some correctly claim the new standards are only 60% Common Core, it doesn’t mean they cut out 40% of Common Core content, the new draft has been bloated with additional standards to offset the fact that close to 90% of the Common Core is included in the new draft.

Last month Dr. Terry Stoops wrote an excellent Spotlight, Common Core State Standards: The Way Forward The paper suggests the NC General Assembly establish two permanent commissions that would be charged with establishing quality standards, curricula, and assessments.  Dr. Stoops did well to suggest these commissions, which was not done in Indiana. Hopefully we will learn from Indiana and other states as we move forward. That is why having 50 “laboratories of democracy” is important.

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