The Common Core legislative study committee held August 5th at the Indiana Statehouse revealed a new definition of college readiness for Hoosiers. In our state, if the high school certifies that your child is college ready one would expect that it includes Indiana University or Purdue University. According to the author of the Common Core math standards, Jason Zimba, it no longer holds that qualification.
PRO-COMMON CORE EXPERT, Jason Zimba: He testified that the common core only covers and requires up to Algebra 2. When asked by Representative Rhoads if CC college readiness would include four year institutions he stated that the Common Core requirements in math would not prepare students for Indiana University or Purdue University, but maybe Ball State or Valparaiso. Our flagship state universities require more math than the common core requires.
Rhoads quoted a transcript from the 2010 Massachusetts State Board of Education meeting where he stated :
“Mr. Zimba said the focus of college readiness is minimal and focuses on non-selective colleges.”
Zimba denied he ever said those words and went so far as to imply Representative Rhoads was “putting words in his mouth.” You can read the transcript for yourself here on page 5.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? College ready is the new term which will qualify a student to receive certain exemptions. Under an agreement made between the State of Indiana and the US Department of Education, our state higher-ed institutions, including Indiana and Purdue, agreed to use the CC standards and the aligned assessments in the decision process for enrollment and placement of students. It requires the university to place students, who score a certain percentage on the high school common core tests, directly into credit-bearing classes without any remediation.
Translation: If you’ve taken the common core aligned assessment and you are deemed college-ready in math or English, you don’t get put into a developmental class. You get placed directly into a credit-bearing class and go from there. Remember college ready under Common Core is Algebra 2, credit bearing math courses at IU or Purdue, in any STEM degree, is Calculus. How do you get directly from Algebra 2 to Calculus? Students can’t skip trigonometry and pre-calculus and have any expectation of lasting more than one hour in a college calculus class. Will higher-ed be forced to dumb down their courses to align with CC standards? I doubt many professors of mathematics will ever consent to this and remediation rates will skyrocket under Common Core.
One of those professors from Indiana University, Chris Connell, testified that college readiness under Common Core is far from what is expected of students at Indiana University. He explained that the Common Core standards have less content than our old standards which he considered superior to Common Core. He was the director of undergraduate studies for the math department at Indiana University and gave first-hand accounts of the preparedness of students and how the lack of algebraic development in the Common Core will leave students less prepared. He stated that by fifth grade, the Common Core leaves students at least a full year behind our former Indiana math students. Unlike the development of Indiana’s former math standards which involved input from the math department at IU, he reported that the common core writers did not consult his department.
Indiana should reject the Common Core standards and form its own standards that would place our state in a position of excellence, not mediocrity.