Indiana Replaces Common Core ... With Common Core

By:  Alex Newman
03/25/2014
       
Indiana State Capitol, Indianapolis Indiana State Capitol, Indianapolis

Celebrations by parents, teachers, and taxpayers across the political spectrum over the purported death of Common Core in Indiana may have been premature. 

When legions of outraged Hoosiers forced lawmakers to pass legislation dropping the Obama administration-pushed nationalization of K-12 education, which Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed on Monday, they thought that would be the end of the deeply controversial standards. However, now that drafts of Indiana’s “new” standards have emerged, it is clear that they were largely copied and pasted from the scandal-plagued Common Core.  

Officials still celebrated the bill, perhaps hoping nobody would notice or care. “I believe our students are best served when decisions about education are made at the state and local level,” Gov. Pence claimed in a statement this week. “By signing this legislation, Indiana has taken an important step forward in developing academic standards that are written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, and are uncommonly high, and I commend members of the General Assembly for their support.”

Despite the new law supposedly aimed at stopping Common Core in Indiana, though, suspicion and outrage is still building as Hoosiers learn about the supposedly “new and improved” standards. According to education expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who refused to sign off on the national standards while serving on the Common Core Validation Committee and was hired by Indiana to review the state’s “new” proposed standards, what is happening is tantamount to “grand deception.”

The retired University of Arkansas professor explained that the draft standards proposed as a replacement for Common Core in Indiana, in fact, are almost the same as the national scheme that sparked the public uproar in the first place. Incredibly, internal government documents actually reveal that as much as 90 percent of the “new” standards were taken from Common Core, meaning the “new” is essentially a repackaged version of the old.

Dr. Stotsky recently released an Indiana Department of Education report that blew the lid off what is happening. According to the document, cited in multiple news reports, more than 70 percent of the “new” Indiana standards for grades six through 12 were taken directly from Common Core. Another 20 percent of the standards were simply edited versions of Common Core. About half of the new standards from kindergarten through fifth grade were also lifted from the national scheme.       

“It makes a fool of the governor,” Dr. Stotsky, one of the premier national experts on Common Core, was quoted as saying by Fox News about Indiana’s allegedly “new” standards. “The governor is being embarrassed by his own Department of Education if the final version is too close to Common Core.” Based on the legislation rejecting Common Core, the Indiana Board of Education is set to vote on the proposed “new” standards in late April. It was not immediately clear whether they would be approved, but opposition is building as the public slowly realizes it has been taken for a ride.

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