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COMMUNITY VOICE

Show Common Core the door as well as any attempt to rebrand it

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 9:31 am

All eyes are on Indiana education. Schools have until Friday to complete their Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus, and the results will be heavily scrutinized.

Also under scrutiny are the draft academic standards recently unveiled by the Indiana Department of Education; these would replace the current Common Core standards.

We are blessed to live in our state where residents care about academic outcomes. One familiar mantra is that Indiana needs to be in control of our own education policy. As a mother of seven, I agree. Our education standards need to be our own, not national standards provided by those with no connection to or understanding of Indiana.

Common Core, embraced by Indiana in 2010, pushes national standards on local teachers, school districts and students. This initiative creates a one-size-fits-all type of academic standards, instead of states testing kids on their own standards. Forty-five additional states have adopted Common Core, but thanks to the concern of countless Hoosier parents, teachers and legislators, we became the first state to halt Common Core’s rollout in our schools.

As the initiative remains under review, the Department of Education recently released academic standards that could replace Common Core’s standards. The standards are being met with great hesitancy, and for good reason.

These revised standards appear to merely be a rebranding of the original Common Core standards. This rewrite doesn’t adequately provide state-specific standards. More importantly, the rewrite is not as rigorous as Indiana’s previous standards, which were adopted in 2009 before Common Core’s introduction.

Furthermore, educators have expressed concern that the draft standards will be confusing for teachers in the classroom.

Thankfully, the revised standards are still in draft form. In fact, the state accepted public comment on them, and hundreds of Hoosiers weighed in. The Board of Education will vote in April on whether or not to adopt these standards in place of the nationally written Common Core standards.

As concerned Hoosiers, we must use our voices to expose the problems with Common Core and the weak attempt to write new standards. We must be adamant that Common Core cannot simply undergo rebranding in Indiana. We also need to call for an emphasis on including local education experts and teachers in the process.

We must remain vigilant about what is being taught and tested in our state’s classrooms.

As a regular substitute teacher, college instructor and former member of several parochial school boards, I believe in a strong education system that promises success for graduates. Our teachers, parents and local school districts need a realistic system that gives them control over our children’s education.

Common Core, or a Common Core rebrand, has no place in Indiana. Join me as we work to show Common Core the door.

Liz Brown is a former Fort Wayne City Council member and current candidate for Indiana Senate District 15