Indiana Common Core Repeal Bill Heads to Governor Pence

The Indiana Senate voted 35-13 today to concur with the House version of SB 91, Indiana’s Common Core Repeal bill, so the bill will head to Governor Mike Pence (R-IN).  Pence has expressed support for Hoosiers creating their own standards so it is likely he will sign the bill.

Chalkbeat Indiana points out that the original author of the bill, State Senator Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis) is not happy with some of the language in the bill:

The bill’s original author, Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, said he objected to language in the bill referencing Indiana’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Education releasing the state from some of the sanctions of the federal No Child Left Behind law. That waiver required Indiana to adopt “college and career ready” standards. It did not require Common Core but Indiana, at the time, said it would use Common Core.

Schneider said he opposed the federal education department’s practice of requiring states to change education policy to receive waivers or qualify for grants. Indiana would be better off to decline federal grants than agree to change its education system, he said.

“In order to get substantial amounts of federal dollars states have to adopt college and career ready standards or Common Core,” Schneider said.

Schneider said he objected to the federal government “directing us into adopting policies on a statewide level or we don’t get the money,” he said.

The bill’s only reference to the federal government is a section that permits the Indiana State Board of Education to renew its NCLB wavier.

“I think that’s unnecessary in this bill,” Schneider said.

I concur with Senator Schneider, it is unnecessary.  It also cedes sovereignty over to the Federal government, something no state should ever do whether it is for a competitive grant or conditional waiver.

Here is some good news in the standards rewrite front.  One of our friends will be in the process of evaluating the new standards.  I was forwarded an email from Chris Crabtree, Director of External Operations for Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who said they’ve reached out to Dr. Sandra Stotsky to help with their standards.

From: Chris Crabtree
Date: Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 9:52 PM
Subject: Gov. Pence asks Dr. Sandra Stotsky to assist in evaluation of Indiana’s academic standards


I am writing to let you know that Governor Pence contacted Dr. Sandra Stotsky today and she has agreed assist in the evaluation of Indiana’s academic standards. Her work in Indiana, Massachusetts and elsewhere is well documented. She is one of several national experts who are also participating as independent evaluators, and we look forward to their recommendations.

Parents, teachers and administrators have already submitted more than 1000 comments on the development of Indiana’s academic standards, and there is much work still to be done. The Governor is grateful that so many of you have taken an interest in ensuring that our students have the benefit of strong standards that will prepare them for success in careers, college and life.

Work to eliminate duplication and ensure consistency and transition between grades is ongoing and will continue to be informed by the public comments received online through March 12 at 11 p.m.

Thank you again for your interest in Indiana’s students and in making sure they have an education that equips them to succeed.


If Indiana’s ELA standards can mirror what she helped to do in Massachusetts that will be a major improvement.

Indiana House Votes to Repeal Common Core


The Indiana House passed SB 91 on a 67 to 26 vote.  SB 91 authored by State Senators Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis) and Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) in effect repeals the Common Core State Standards.

Here is the bill digest:

Adds a definition of "college and career readiness". Provides that before July 1, 2014, the state board of education (state board) shall adopt Indiana college and career readiness educational standards. Provides that during the 2015-2016 school year, the state board shall authorize the department to administer either the ISTEP assessment or a comparable assessment program that is aligned with the educational standards. Provides that before the state board may authorize a new assessment program, the state board shall submit the proposed assessment program to the budget committee for review. Makes technical and conforming amendments.

Even with this new bill we have to wonder how much Indiana is surrendering control over their standards.

SB 91 originally stated that the new Indiana standards must “comply with federal standards to receive a flexibility waiver under 20 U.S.C. 7861.” Proponents believe that “college and career ready standards” means adopting Common Core or something practically identical to the Common Core State Standards in order to stay within compliance of the state’s conditional waiver.

The bill also says the standards must “Prepare Indiana students for college and career success,  including the proper preparation for nationally recognized college entrance examinations such as the ACT and SAT.”  While that seems good, ACT and SAT have said their tests will be aligned to the Common Core.

So I’m leery about the outcome, and as I wrote earlier today, the review process and the new draft standards do not look promising.  So I don’t want to throw a wet blanket on what should be seen as a great victory, but I also want to make sure that the wool is not pulled over our eyes.

I certainly don’t believe this is the intent of the Indiana legislators who voted for this bill.  We’ll have to wait to see what the final product ends up being.  It would have been my preference that they would have gone back to the previous standards.

SB 91 passed the Indiana Senate on 2/4/14, and since it has been amended it will go back to the Senate for their approval before heading to Governor Mike Pence’s desk.

Photo credit: Massimo Catarinella (CC-BY-SA 2.5)

Indiana Senate to Vote on Bill Abolishing Common Core

indiana-flagFrom WIBC 93.1FM in Indianapolis:

The Senate will vote next week on a bill to put the final nail in the coffin of the Common Core education standards.

Last year, legislators ordered the State Board of Education to pass new academic standards by July of this year. The Senate Education Committee has approved a bill along party lines, spelling out guidelines for what those standards should look like…

…Erin Tuttle, the co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core, says parents will be watching the result of the state board’s work when the new school year begins this fall, and warns they’ll feel "outraged" and "tricked" if lessons still resemble Common Core.

Legislative leaders had warned they might go beyond guidelines to write the standards themselves if tensions between the board and state superintendent Glenda Ritz threatened the deadline. But Senator Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis), the bill’s author, says the standoff has eased over the last couple of months. He says the board expects to issue draft standards in April and hold public hearings on them.

Yes they will need to make sure the board doesn’t just add 15% to the Common Core and call them new standards.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence Signs Common Core Pause Legislation


Today Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Common Core pause legislation that requires the Indiana State Board of Education to hold three public hearings on the Common Core State Standards and have a fiscal impact study completed by 2014.

“I have long believed that education is a state and local function and we must always work to ensure that our students are being taught to the highest academic standards and that our curriculum is developed by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers,” Pence said in a released statement. “The legislation I sign today hits the pause button on Common Core so Hoosiers can thoroughly evaluate which standards will best serve the interests of our kids.’’

State Senator Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis) who was the chief sponsor of the bill said, “Today Indiana takes a crucial step in deciding the future of our participation in Common Core. There will be heavy review and scrutiny of Common Core over the next six months. It is my hope we can come out of these study committee meetings with a clear understanding of the level of federal involvement in education policy in Indiana, and a dedication to setting the best standards in the country.”

Heather Crossin, co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core, responded to today’s news,”We believe this is a historic day, not just because it marks what we hope will be the beginning of the end for Common Core in Indiana, but because it proves that our American system of government still works. Against all odds, with no funding, the will of the People prevailed. It prevailed against hundreds of of dollars of paid advertising, a slew of paid lobbyists, and numerous powerful organizations like the Chamber of Commerce.”

“Unlike those with corporate interests at stake, our only stake in this game is our children’s education and ultimately their futures. Opponents of HB1427 fought vigorously all to prevent Common Core from being reviewed in the light of day. There seems to be only one reason for this – the Common Core emperor wears no clothes. The slogans and rhetoric that were used to sell the Common Core simply don’t hold up under close scrutiny,” Crossin added. “We are hopeful that Governor Pence, with his upcoming appointments to the State Board of Education, will decide to lead Indiana into a new direction where local control of education will be restored.”

Emmett McGroarty with American Principles in Action said, “With this legislation the people of Indiana have stepped forward to reclaim their sacred right to direct the education and upbringing of their children. This is a new breath of liberty for America.”

Erin Tuttle, co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core, stated, “This bill is a victory for the will of the people of Indiana. We were outspent and outmanned, but the will of the People prevailed which proves the system can work. Hoosiers still have a home at the Indiana Statehouse where their opinions are respected.”

Photo provided by Erin Tuttle.

Update: I had to update this post because I learned the bill had been amended to say three public hearings instead of a public hearing in each of Indiana’s congressional districts.  It was said this was done for fiscal purposes, but I believe it limits who may be able to attend these public hearings.

Indiana’s Common Core Pause Up for a Final Vote

indiana-state-capitol-domeGood news in Indiana the language halting further implementation of the Common Core State Standards has made it out of a conference committee and  will be up for a final vote in each chamber and then hopefully will land on Governor Mike Pence’s desk.

From State Impact Indiana:

After lawmakers resolved differences between the Indiana House’s and Senate’s respective versions of a lengthy piece of education legislation, language halting implementation of the Common Core academic standards in Indiana schools made it through conference committee Thursday.

While House Speaker Brian Bosma’s Wednesday announcement he supported the “pause” proposal makes this news somewhat less surprising, it essentially means opponents of the nationally-crafted standards have pulled off an improbable end-run around Common Core supporters (go Erin and Heather!).

As it emerged from conference, House Bill 1427 prevents schools from doing any further work to implement the standards in their classrooms pending public meetings on the Common Core, a legislative review and a study of the standards’ fiscal impact.

“Shining the light of day on [the standards] and opening it up for folks to have a lot of input, for teachers and parents to have input, for educators to have input — I think is a positive step,” Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, told IPBS statehouse reporter Brandon Smith.

This explains the shrill protesting we’ve heard from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and DFER Indiana.

Photo credit: Jimmy Emerson via Flickr (CC-By-NC-ND 2.0)

Indiana Anti-Common Core Bill on the Move

Yesterday in the Indiana Senate Education Committee, Senator Scott Schneider successfully attached his language to a House bill, HB1427.  To read the coverage of the Senate Education Committee’s action click here.

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, who authored the original Common Core bill, says despite Behning’s objections, he thinks the full House will back his plan.

“The majority of folks that I have talked to on both sides of the building, and on both sides of the aisle, for that matter, are in support of doing that (sic – missing “which”) stops further implementation and gives us a thorough review and an ability for us to look at everything,” Schneider says.

Schneider says he is confident the House will simply concur with the amended bill and avoid a conference committee where Behning might have more influence.

This legislation could be voted on by the full Senate as early as next Tuesday. If it passes the full Senate, it will then bypass the House Education Committee and go directly to the floor of the House. This could happen as early as the end of next week.  Therefore, please contact any and all members of the House and make your views known about the Common Core.  Tell them that the only acceptable language is that which is contained in HB1427 as amended by the Senate Education Committee.  This point is important because the House Education Committee recently passed their own language on the subject, in what appears to be a pre-emptive move.  Make it clear that only Senator Schneider’s language will satisfy you.  Let them know that “smoke and mirrors” will be recognized for being just that!  The number to the House Switchboard is (317)232-9600.

Originally posted at Hoosiers Against Common Core.

Bill to Pull Common Core Out of Indiana Clears Senate Education Committee

The Indiana Senate Education and Career Development committee voted in 7 to 3 in favor of SB 193, the Common Core State Standards Bill.

Those voting in favor: Senators Dennis Kruse (R – SD 14), Carlin Yoder (R – SD 12), Jim Banks (R – SD 17), Jim Buck (R – SD 21), Luke Kenley (R-SD 20), Peter Miller (R – SD 32), and Scott Schneider (R – SD 30)

Against:  Senators Earline S. Rogers (D – SD 03), John Broden (D – SD 10), Frank Mrvan, Jr. (D – SD 01), and Greg Taylor (D – SD 33).

State Sentaor Jean Leising (R-SD 42) was absent for the vote.

Update: This represents a step forward.

This represents a high-profile step forward for foes of the common core, although of course it has several legislative hurdles to clear before it even reaches the desk of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican. It’s not clear at all whether the GOP leaders in the Indiana House would let the bill get much traction with its members, who control the chamber. In a Feb. 13 statement, American Principles in Action, a conservative nonprofit in Washington opposing the new standards, applauded the vote on the bill “reversing” the common core, although that seems like an optimistic interpretation, given that the bill doesn’t require the state to drop the core altogether like it used to.

The bill has been revised to slow, but not stop the Common Core entirely.

Instead of requiring an outright rejection of Common Core, Indianapolis Republican Scott Schneider’s bill now puts the new standards on hold until the State Board of Education conducts nine hearings around the state. The Education Committee voted 7-4 along party lines to send the bill to the full Senate.

The board would be required to compare Common Core to Indiana’s existing standards. And the state would have to conduct an analysis of the cost of implementing Common Core.

Indianapolis parent Heather Crossin, an early organizer of the fight against Common Core, applauds the bill even in its revised form. She says it’ll give teachers and parents a chance they haven’t had to be fully heard on what she says are academically unsound standards.

Redelman’s Wrong

Derek Redelman, the vice president of education and workforce development policy, at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce wrote an op/ed at the Indiana Barrister calling on Hoosiers to show common sense with the Common Core.  Translate that to mean agree with him and think the Common Core is a-ok.  Basically he’s troubled that there is opposition in the form of State Senator Scott Schneider’s bill SB 193 which would remove the Common Core from Indiana’s standards.

Typically, as a conservative, I have found myself allied with the Chamber on a number of different issues, but they seem to have a blind spot from the U.S. Chamber on down to the Common Core.  In fact the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Common Core State Standards before they were even written.

I have to wonder if Redelman supported them before he even read them.

Let’s pick apart some of his arguments shall we?

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. (emphasis mine)

The Indiana State Board of Education, an unelected body made this decision, not the Indiana Legislature.

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.

Forty-six state boards and/or departments of education adopted the Common Core.  While part of the purpose of education is to prepare students for careers that is not the end all, be all goal of it.  What careers?  This is shifting, in my opinion, a hyper focus on STEM subjects at the neglect of other important subjects.  As far as the Common Core enjoying broad-based bipartisan support, how can he even say that when there was no public debate?  I’ve read about and have heard from numerous classroom teachers not excited about the Common Core.  Besides if parents are not happy with them does it really matter what teachers think?  Nope.

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.

Bull pucky… this is a special interest-led and Federally pushed set of standards.  If it were truly state-led then state legislatures would have been involved.  Regarding tearing it down in Indiana, actually we’d go for any state.  I used to live in Indiana, but I don’t think they’re special in that regard.  I think this is a battle we’ll likely have in every state.

However if one state whether it is Indiana, Utah or say my home state of Iowa we do have some momentum.  So he’s right in that regard.

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.

Hysterical exaggerations of federal intrusions?  Tell me where, Mr. Redelmen, the Constitution and Federal law permits the U.S. Department of Education to push a set of standards for a state to be eligible for a Race to the Top grant or a No Child Left Behind Waiver?  They have no such authority and yet they have done just that.  Regarding the supposed “flexibilities.” What in the blue blazes are you talking about?  State are permitted to make minimal changes impacting up to 15% of the standards.  You call that flexibility?   As far as the “rigorous” (talk about adopting the Common Core propaganda!) assessments and accountability measures we are supposed to believe they will make changes in the standards as a result of these?

Yeah, I won’t hold my breath on that.

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.

This is the height of arrogance.  Citizens and parents through their elected legislators should be able to weigh in on standards that impact their children.  They are the primary stakeholders in a child’s education, not educators or educrats.  If standards are worthy then they shouldn’t be afraid to subject them to the legislative process.  Mr. Redelmen needs to be reminded that we live in a Republic, not an oligarchy.

Indiana Republican Assembly Endorses Repeal of Common Core State Standards


State Senator Scott Schneider

BEECH GROVE, INDIANA, January 22, 2013 — The Indiana Republican Assembly (INRA) rejects the lowered standards for Indiana schoolchildren developed by Washington-based interest groups and pushed by the Obama administration. We endorse Indiana State Senator Scott Schneider’s effort to repeal Indiana’s ill-adopted Common Core State Standards and replace them with Indiana produced standards.

Senator Schneider has put forward Senate Bill 193 calling for Indiana to withdraw from the Common Core Standards.

Not only do the Common Core Standards lower Indiana’s math and English standards but the entire process bypasses parents, local, and state school boards and their elected officials. We echo Phyllis Schafly in maintaining that “Obama Core” should be held unconstitutional because the federal government has no constitutional power over education.

The national tests for students are tied to teacher evaluations. The standards instruct teachers what to teach their pupils so students can pass the tests and teachers receive positive evaluations. The federal government has been pressuring states to adopt the Common Core in order to be eligible for the $4.5 billion Race to the Top funds that originated with the stimulus package, and as a condition for receiving waivers to No Child Left Behind.

About the Indiana Republican Assembly

The Indiana Republican Assembly is an official charter of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, “the Republican Wing of the Republican Party”, one of the oldest and largest GOP organizations in America. INRA, an independent expenditure Super PAC, supports Reagan conservative candidates and their causes and is dedicated to electing true conservatives to lead the Republican Party. INRA meets monthly at Pipers Café on Indy’s Southside.