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Indiana Chamber: Show Common Sense on Common Core

by Derek Redelman

It’s a bit amazing, but right now – with a Republican supermajority – we are fighting hard to keep in place a major component of the K-12 education reforms that former Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett implemented here and have helped lead around the nation. The state’s new Common Core academic standards are under assault from a contingent of out-of-state interest groups, conservative Republican legislators and tea party activists.

Senate Bill 193, sponsored by Sen. Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis), would effectively overturn the state’s 2010 approval and subsequent participation in the Common Core academic standards. Forty-six states have adopted the Common Core program, an initiative to set strong standards for what students learn at each grade level in math and English that is also designed to get students ready for college and careers. The program is already being implemented in Indiana and enjoying unusual bipartisan and broad-based support, including among classroom teachers.

Beginning in 2009, governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states committed to developing common K-12 benchmarks in math and English. They sought significantly more rigorous academic standards and testing programs for their states. Common Core opponents charge it is designed to “nationalize” academic standards and testing, citing the Obama administration’s support for this state-led effort as evidence of sinister intent.

This is nonsense. Common Core was and still is a state-led effort. Indiana was one of the early states to approve and implement the program. In fact, Gov. Daniels and Dr. Bennett were key leaders in helping states around the country – now 46 states – to approve the program. Common Core opponents know that if they can tear it down in Indiana first, the foundation will begin to crumble across the country.

Is Common Core perfect? Of course not; no initiative is. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has acknowledged that some of the critics – at least those focused on contents of the standards rather than hysterical exaggerations of federal intrusion – may have some legitimate concerns that should be evaluated.  But those concerns, if legitimate, can be offset by the flexibilities contained within the Common Core and through corresponding adoptions of rigorous assessments and accountability measures. There is no need to overreact.

Rather than subjecting our academic standards to the politicized environment of the Legislature, such determinations and oversight need to remain in the hands of our state’s education leaders, including the Department of Education, the Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education. Ironically, while critics of the Common Core have heaped praise on Indiana’s previous state standards, they consistently overlook the fact that those highly-rated standards were adopted through the same process as was conducted when Indiana adopted the Common Core, and that the Legislature played no role in those adoptions.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has urged the Legislature to allow Common Core implementation to continue but has promised to conduct a review of the standards that would be completed by the end of 2013. This is a reasonable, welcome recommendation, as such a review would be helpful for determining how best to use the flexibilities that are allowed in the multi-state agreement.

Senate Bill 193 is scheduled to be considered and possibly voted on by the Senate Education and Career Development Committee on Wednesday, February 6 . With Republican legislators split on the measure, a close vote is expected. Indiana simply cannot afford to start going backwards on education. Let’s hope common sense prevails on the Common Core standards.

For more information about Common Core, contact Derek Redelman, vice president for education and workforce development policy, at dredelman@indianachamber.com / (317) 264-6880 or visit http://stand.org/indiana/common-core.



  • http://www.facebook.com/leon.dixon.18 Leon Dixon

    Questions were raised on these issues long ago and suppressed. Most reasonable people concur that hiding the details from the people was a large error. While Derek’s conference on the matter was correctly done-with every possible viewpoint being given adequate time and Q & A the Indiana public remains pretty much in the dark about details-it is not unwisdom to suggest that all the King’s Horse’s Appointees and Men bought a Pig in a Poke for us.
    Surely, in the Senate testimony it must have been very clear that those speaking for the Senate Bill to dump this turkey were not all kooks, crazies, inexperts but included all sorts of people upset with the high handed manner of the previous Superintendent. If the Legislature can review a 30 year gas deal that seemed to stink the moment it saw daylight surely they can do the same for this Pig in a Poke-we ought to at least see what kind of a pig it might be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erin.tuttle.507 Erin Tuttle

    If you want the truth on Common Core, don’t call Derek. See http://www.hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com

  • stlgretchen

    I would have thought astute business people would have realized a long time ago that you shouldn’t sign on to any public school plan that had no price tag, had no specifics and would be controlled by private corporations held unaccountable to the taxpayers whose money they were using.

    Would the Chamber of Commerce endorse such a plan in private industry? Would they support a business plan that had no budget, no oversight? Would they endorse a construction project with no blueprint and only promises of grandeur?

    Of course not. Then why is the Chamber endorsing CCSS? The processes used and the product promised by CCSS is what I described above. If the Chamber endorses such pie in the sky promises of CCSS that have no research to back them up, and the Chamber thinks THAT is common sense, Indiana is in deep trouble.

  • Peteboggs

    Ms. Tuttle & her organization make a compelling argument against what appears more “common corruption” than individual standard.


  • Pingback: Common Core Is A Business Plan Without A Budget Plan Or Cost Accountability « COMMON CORE()

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.stoffel.969 John Stoffel

    At best, the standards reflect guesswork, not cognitive or developmental science.

    Moreover, the Common Core Standards do not provide for ongoing research or review of the outcomes of their adoption—a bedrock principle of any truly research-based endeavor.

    It’s bad enough to set up committees to make policy on matters they know little or nothing about. But it’s worse to conceal and distort the public reaction to those policies.

    And that’s exactly what the Indiana Chamber of Commerce is doing.


  • G Square

    That Washington Post critique is pretty damning. Should I be surprised that we have heard so little about this matter or should I look at it as yet another program adopted without considering public input?

  • Eric Rasmusen

    . I
    don’t know how good the Common Core is in substance, but I know it creates huge
    administrative costs when private schools try to comply with it, and I imagine
    the same is true for public schools. It is better to announce the topics and
    test for results rather than require that courses cover certain topics (but not
    how well!) and then require schools to document that they’re in exact
    compliance each year. Monitoring how well public schools are teaching their
    courses is a good thing, but administrative cost– both in money and in
    attention taken away from teaching— should be major part of it.

    England has a good
    idea; send inspectors around and have them give both quantitative and
    qualitative reports on schools. Here’s one such OFSTED report:


    This is the best
    primary school in Oxford, the one my kids went to while we were there one
    year, in the richest neighborhood. I see it only got Good, not Outstanding, in
    2012— no automatic A ratings, it seems. Note that it is Church of England school, but also a public,
    government, school. In England many government-paid, no-tuition,
    admit-any-local-kid schools are C of E sponsored, many are Roman Catholic, and
    many are neither. And if there is room in the school, out-of-neighborhood parents
    can send their kids there if they’ll transport them. (Phil and Jim’s was the
    only school in Oxford with a long-time waiting list.)

  • pascal

    Mordor has other plans.

  • Common Sense

    The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is NO friend of conservatism.

    Dumbing down the population, open borders-unrestrained illegal immigration for cheap labor.

    You would think George Soros was funding them, but then again…

  • http://www.facebook.com/erin.tuttle.507 Erin Tuttle

    I’ll take that bait. I think a debate would be interesting.

  • http://batman-news.com Sue Lile

    One of the commentators mentions price tag…..The basic premise behind IDOE/CECI/SBOE is that we can’t find solutions/funds to meet the needs of our most needy students without the oversight and money of the federal government. I do not agree. Someone in state government should be able to do a cost/benefit analysis that gives the public facts on the cost of compliance and unfunded mandates in comparison to the results we are receiving from all of Title 1 funds. Education sovereignty could be a reality in Indiana. Currently, despite what is said, we do not have that.