Indiana Gov. Pence Voids 2010 Adoption of Common Core State Standards

By Andrew Ujifusa — March 24, 2014 2 min read
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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced Monday that he has signed state legislation that voids the state Board of Education’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards back in 2010. That legislation, Senate Bill 91, was authored by GOP Sen. Scott Schneider, perhaps the most public and persistent voice against the standards in the Hoosier State. Here’s how the Republican governor put it on Twitter:

If you take Pence’s words at face value, you might think that the standards will now disappear from Indiana schools. But is that what’s happened now that he’s signed the bill into law? Not exactly.

As I wrote recently, the state is in the process of drafting and reviewing new standards in English/language arts and math to “replace” the common core. But these standards that are under development are based in part on ... you guessed it, the common core. These new standards will be a combination of the common core as well as previous content standards that the state has developed and used in classrooms.

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, has said, for example, that it’s always been her understanding—one that other education officials in Indiana seem to share—that common core would continue to be a part of the state’s content standards going forward. (Those standards are due to be adopted in a little over a month.)

Supporters of the common core outside of Indiana feel just about the same. A press release announcing a March 20 conference call with Stand for Children CEO Jonah Edelman and Thomas B. Fordham Institute Executive Vice President Michael Petrilli (both strong common-core supporters) to discuss what Indiana’s up to, states that “key elements of the Common Core are included in the existing [Indiana] draft standards and that the recent legislation in no way prohibits Indiana from using elements of Common Core.”

If you’re looking for confirmation of this view from opponents of the standards, Sandra Stotsky, a retired University of Arkansas professor and a durable common-core opponent, has said that the drafted English/language standards released to the public are merely a “warmed-over version of Common Core’s standards.”

Brad Oliver, a member of the state board, has argued to me that in some places, it becomes difficult to say whether a certain standard is a common core standard or not, since some grade-level expectations of various standards will inevitably overlap.

In his State of the State speech in January, Pence declared that the new standards under development would be written “by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers.” His March 24 actions buttress that declaration, but his proclamation that the bill he just signed is taking Indiana “out of the common core” is a questionable one.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.