Everybody’s losing the Common Core battle in Indiana

Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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Common Core supporters and opponents agree Indiana’s newest standards are worse than either the state’s old standards or the Common Core. 

The state has been working for months on a set of standards to replace Common Core, and released a final draft this week. Gov. Mike Pence officially rejected the Common Core standards in March, but gave the state until July 1 to adopt a replacement set of standards.

The Fordham Institute, a strong advocate of Common Core, said in a scathing review the new standards give only the illusion of substance. “Like the Potemkin villages built to wow (and deceive) Catherine the Great,” wrote Fordham fellow Kathleen Porter-Magee, “they are intended to impress — and very possibly will deceive.”

Heather Crossin, Indiana mother and common core opponent, said Pence has failed in his promise to lead Indiana out of Common Core and into the best standards in the nation. The state should return to the old standards, she told The Daily Caller. “Why try to fix something that wasn’t broken?”

Considering officials have been working on the current draft for at least three months, it’s unlikely they could start over or modify this draft in time for the July 1 deadline. But returning to the old standards would essentially render the entire process a waste of time and energy.

Erin Tuttle, another Indiana mom and Common Core opponent, told The DC the whole mess reflects badly on Gov. Pence, and people are changing their minds about supporting him. “Since 2011, I’ve been in church basements, I’ve been where the people are,” Tuttle said,”and they feel he isn’t showing leadership on the issue of Common Core.”

Experts have generally denounced the latest draft.

James Milgram, Stanford math professor said the standards are “pretty much a complete mess” from what he’s seen of the draft. “There are major errors in each,” he said. “They are repetitive and horribly disorganized.” Milgram served on the Common Core validation committee, but is not a Common Core proponent. He suggests the state revert to its old standards.

Berkeley math professor Hung-Hsi Wu, who helped develop Common Core, said in an email to a state board of education member he finds the new draft “disappointing” and “an incoherent jumble,” and believes it’s inferior to Common Core.

“This is a time when leadership matters,” Wu said, “but the writers of the new draft chose to pass the buck.”

Ze’ev Wurmanvisiting scholar at the Hoover Institution involved in California’s adoption of the Common Core, said in an editorial the standards are “obscure and difficult to comprehend,” “so imprecise that they can be interpreted to mean anything,” and “contain plain mathematical errors.”

Wurman also recommends Indiana adopt the old standards, and then improve them in a “deliberate and unhurried process.”

Andrea Neal, state board of education member, told the IndyStar the standards weren’t really written by Hoosiers. “They were really more paraphrased by Hoosiers,” she said. “… 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.”

The Indiana State Board of Education is set to hold the final vote on this set of standards April 28.

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