Indiana lawmakers held the first of a series of hearings on the future of Common Core State Standards yesterday.
The first hearing focused on the quality of the standards, while subsequent meetings will look at assessment and cost.
The Indiana hearings are important because the Hoosier State has become something of a proxy for Common Core opponents across the country. Indiana lawmakers approved a bill pausing implementation of the standards and accompanying testing. Florida advocates think they can introduce a similar bill for the next legislative session.
Many of those who spoke at the hearing are leading national voices both in favor and opposing the standards. Those not attending the hearing provided a running commentary on Twitter all afternoon.
Jason Zimba helped write the Common Core math standards. He says the new math standards are a step in the right direction if Indiana wants to prepare more students for college and career.
“For example, the study of fractions in American schools has been criticized as the study of round food,” says Zimba. “But in the previous Indiana K-5 standards, the word ‘pizza’ occurs more times in the study of fractions than the word ‘number line’ does.”
But opponents of the nationally-crafted standards told lawmakers the Common Core is less rigorous than the standards Indiana had before.
“Indiana would be better off sticking with its current standards,” says Bill Evers, a researcher at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. “That does mean there are not areas of improvement.”
The Indiana legislative panel must make a recommendation about standards to the state board of education by Nov. 1.