The Rematch: Indiana Sen. Offers New Anti-Common-Core Bill, Which Advances

By Andrew Ujifusa — January 29, 2014 2 min read
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Just over a year ago, I highlighted a bill that aimed to repeal the Common Core State Standards in Indiana. A great deal has happened in Indiana, and elsewhere, over the past 391 days, as far as pushback to the common core is concerned. But one thing remains constant in 2013 and 2014: The Hoosier State legislator who authored that bill, Republican Sen. Scott Schneider, has once again submitted a bill to repeal the standards.

That legislation, Senate Bill 91, was approved by the senate education committee on Jan. 29 by an 8-3 vote and will next be considered by the full senate. It voids the standards “adopted by the state board after June 30, 2010,” which even though they aren’t mentioned by name are the common core standards. It provides that until a new set of “Indiana college and career readiness standards” are adopted before July 1 by the board, the common core will technically still be in effect.

Remember, the state board of education is conducting a review of the common core.

The momentum against the common core in Indiana, or at least very clear unease about it, can be seen in remarks by Gov. Mike Pence (R) in his state of the state speech earlier this month. But what stood out about the discussion in the committee before that 8-3 vote were comments from Derek Redelman, the vice president for education and workforce at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. As reported by Scott Elliott of Chalkbeat Indiana, Redelman, one of the biggest pro-common-core voices in the state, told lawmakers that he didn’t ultimately object to Schneider’s bill.

I rang up Erin Tuttle, one of the founders of Hoosiers Against Common Core who helped to inspire Schenider’s 2013 bill, to chat about the story. She said that supporters of the common core in the state may believe that even if Schneider’s latest bill is signed by Pence, the state school board will simply re-adopt the common core, or standards that closely resemble the common core, later this year. (The bill doesn’t explicitly bar the state from having the common core standards after July 1, 2014.)

“What is uncertain is how different they will be” from common core, she told me.

So it’s unclear if the common core might survive in some altered or diluted form in Indiana. But ultimately, Tuttle doesn’t think it’s likely common core will just be re-adopted: “There’s just not the political will.”

Keep in mind that Indiana has a waiver from portions of the No Child Left Behind Act, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has raised concerns that if the state dropped the standards, it could imperil that waiver. If Indiana does indeed drop the common core, it could provide a clear answer to the question of whether the U.S. Department of Education, a supporter of the common core, will punish states that dropping the standards by revoking their waivers. (The waivers require states to adopt standards that would make students “college- and career-ready.”) Remember that Virginia and Texas are two states with NCLB waivers that don’t have the common core.

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