Joy Pullmann has a great article on the Indiana standards review process currently working its way through the State Board of Education. Concerns have been raised that the standards are almost identical to the Common Core and those in charge of the process have a bias towards supporting Common Core. Hoosiers Against Common Core posted the members of the Evaluation Panel who can be identified as having a pro-Common Core bias here.
Pullmann quotes a statement from State Board of Ed member, Brad Oliver, who is overseeing the standards rewrite:
“The state asked Sujie Shin, of WestEd, to review the standards rewrite, and she says it “is the deepest she has observed and will be recommending Indiana’s process as a best practice for other states reexamining Common Core,” wrote state board of education member Brad Oliver in an open letter. WestEd is a quasi-governmental organization that happens to financially profit from Common Core as a contractor for national Common Core tests.”
The State Board of Education asked the people to trust a process led by an employee of a company that has a financial interest tied to the Common Core remaining intact with a majority of committee members who have publicly stated their support for Common Core. That was asking a lot, but we had no other choice. We crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.
With the release of the “new” draft standards, any trust has been broken. The “new” draft standards contain almost all of the Common Core Standards, most of them taken word for word. The public outrage is growing and the people want answers, they feel tricked.
StateImpact interviewed Brad Oliver about the new draft standards and his comments might do more harm than good. When asked if he feared the state legislature would make them rewrite the standards because they were too similar to the Common Core he responded that the standards that made it into the draft were validated through the process which required a standard to meet the definition of college and career readiness.
“So if they don’t understand that part of the process or they did not watch that process and all they’re doing is comparing, then yes, that’s going to come up because it looks like, well you didn’t really change anything, when what happened was the evaluation panels are basically affirming that it was college- or career-ready or it wasn’t” [emphasis mine]
Oliver isn’t concerned that the new standards “didn’t really change anything,” because the process he developed judged them to be college and career ready. Deputy Superintendent, Danielle Shockey, agrees that the standards remain largely the same. She told the Associated Press; “The average parent is unlikely to notice a difference between the new state standards and the national Common Core standards.”
The expectation that people will now accept the Common Core because this process has put the approval stamp of a biased committee led by Sujie Shin on it is naive and insulting. We wanted a process that resulted in a different product being offered, a better product, to lead our students to academic growth.
It’s time to go back to the drawing table, hopefully someone in this state has the courage to make that happen.