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Arne Duncan, Indirectly, on Indiana Common Core ‘Pause’

By Michele McNeil — April 29, 2013 1 min read

In a significant victory for common core foes, Indiana lawmakers have voted to “pause” implementation of the standards to give policymakers time to study them and conduct hearings, State EdWatch reports.

The standards aren’t gone entirely, but this is a serious enough stalling tactic to confuse Hoosier school officials just as they have been working to implement the common core, according to my colleague Andrew Ujifusa. (Important side note: Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, still needs to act on the bill.)

It’s also important to note that there’s some disagreement about what the practical effect of this legislation really would be (if the governor let’s it become law). “There is absolutely nothing in the bill that either repeals the Common Core as our standards or prevents schools from continuing their implementation,” said Derek Redelman, the vice president of education and workforce policy for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. “Nor is there anything in the law to keep our Department of Education from continuing implementation; they just can’t be directed to do so by the State Board.”

Regardless, it seems that the backlash against common core, testing, and other education improvement ideas favored by the Obama administration is really heating up.

On April 18—before Indiana’s vote but as states were debating whether to drop out of common core or testing—I asked U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in an interview about the backlash. He reiterated a point he’s made time and time again: that it’s never been common core per se that he’s pushed, but high college- and career-readiness standards. (In various Duncan-led federal contests, however, adopting the common core was always the easiest and most direct way to satisfy his requirements.)

Nonetheless, he said in my interview with him earlier this month, “If a state wants to dummy down standards, they have every right to do that.”

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