Hoosiers Against Common Core calls for returning to “uncommonly high,” pre-Common Core Standards

April 20, 2014 3 Comments

Hoosiers Against Common Core co-founders, Erin Tuttle and Heather Crossin, sent the following correspondence to members of the Indiana Education Roundtable, which obviously includes Governor Mike Pence and Superintendent Glenda Ritz.

Dear Members of the Indiana Education Roundtable,
On behalf of many parents fighting for the adoption of quality standards for Indiana, we respectfully submit this letter and relevant documentation to the members of the Indiana Education Roundtable for your use in evaluating the new proposed academic standards for Indiana. We would like them to be rejected based on their poor quality and view their adoption as a step backwards for Indiana students.
Historically, standards are presented to the Roundtable after a comprehensive analysis of the final draft with recommendations from local and national experts. The final draft of the proposed standards was released on April 15th, allowing only six days for any analysis before your scheduled vote. According to a statement from Claire Fiddian-Green to the Associated Press, “no analysis is planned for the final draft,” which she described as, “substantially different” than previous drafts inspected by both the public and national experts. It is unprecedented for the state of Indiana to vote on standards without independent examination available for inspection.
Even those who participated in drafting the final proposed standards consider the lack of analysis troublesome. Ball State University mathematical sciences professor Sheryl Stump told the Indianapolis Star, “It would be interesting to have some critique now. But that isn’t part of the process, and I don’t know why.”
This places a great burden at your feet, limiting your knowledge of pertinent information needed to make an informed decision. Without critical input from the public and subject matter experts, the necessary due diligence is not possible in the six days allotted. The Indiana Department of Education and the Center for Education and Career Innovation should not be allowed the position of judge and jury.
Fortunately, several of the national experts who officially reviewed draft 2 of the standards for the state have independently completed an analysis of the final draft. Although agreement among experts is often hard to reach, the large number of errors and lack of content in the new draft have resulted in a unison opinion; the adoption of the standards is an ill-advised move.  In this instance, both pro and anti-Common Core advocates agree; the new standards are not uncommonly high and should not be adopted. The negative review of the final standards by Kathleen Porter Magee who represents The College Board raises serious doubts that the new standards are aligned with the expectations of the SAT which is required by state law under SB91.
“In short, Indiana has inexplicably gutted the Common Core of its strongest elements, renamed what remains, and moved forward swiftly with a campaign to secure adoption of this pale, skills-heavy, content-light, text-neutral document. The Indiana Department of Education appears to have built Potemkin standards that give the illusion of substance without the foundation they need to drive teaching and learning.”
– Kathleen Porter-Magee, Senior Advisor for Policy and Instruction at The College Board & Fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
“This is a time when leadership matters, but the writers of the new draft chose to pass the buck. I find it disappointing, and more importantly, I believe the new draft is inferior to the CCSSM.”
– Professor Hung-Hsi Wu, Professor of Mathematics, Berkeley University, Common Core Writing Team Member for Mathematics
“Draft #3[final draft] is in worse shape than draft #2, and than Common Core’s original standards. And draft #3 is far worse than Indiana’s own 2006 standards. Indiana teachers and students deserve better than what they have been served up by the “educators” selected by its own Department of Education staff for the standards-drafting and evaluation committees.”
-Professor Sandra Stotsky, Professor Emerita of English- University of Arkansas, Common Core Validation Committee Member, Author of the Massachusetts ELA standards

After reviewing the opinions of the subject area experts hired by the state to evaluate the proposed standards, we find Indiana puts students at risk by their adoption. As parents with no stake in this game except the education of our children, we humbly submit to you to reject these standards. We suggest that Indiana return to our former standards, which were judged superior by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Teachers are already familiar with these standards, thus providing an easy transition for students and teachers to begin planning for the next school year.
The option of returning to our former standards is not an opinion we hold alone. Professor James Milgram, one of the national experts who analyzed the final draft said: “There are major errors in each, they are repetitive, and horribly disorganized. I would suggest that your most sensible course would be to vote for the old Indiana standards (prior to the 2009 draft). They were second only to California, and I believe that you already have appropriate exams.”Formal analysis by Ze’ev Wurman, a former adviser in the U.S. Department of Education and member of the 2010 California Academic Content Standards Committee concluded: “There is an easy and obvious solution to this dilemma. Indiana should temporarily re-adopt its excellent 2006 math standards. Once the 2006 standards are re-adopted, Indiana should embark on a deliberate and unhurried process of improving its already-excellent standards. The only issue is to have those 2006 standards declared “college-ready” to preserve Indiana’s NCLB flexibility waiver. This should be an easy task given that the 2006 standards are of higher quality and higher rigor than the current draft, which has already been “blessed” as college-ready by Indiana’s universities and colleges.”

As parents who are concerned with the direction of education in our state, we ask that the Indiana Education Roundtable reject the new standards and advise the Indiana Department of Education to submit Indiana’s 2006 math and English standards to our institutions of higher-ed to be certified as “college and career ready” in order to maintain our ESEA flexibility waiver. We are grateful to you for your service to Indiana and appreciate your consideration of our request.
On behalf of Hoosier Parents,
Erin Tuttle and Heather Crossin
Co-founders of Hoosiers Against Common Core
Links are provided below to the latest coverage of the new proposed Indiana standards. The individual analysis performed by the above mentioned experts is attached as well as an open letter by James Milgram’s containing his conclusions.
Kathleen-Porter Magee of Fordham Institute:
Ze’ev Wurman:
Heritage Foundation 
Fuzzy Common Core Math Standards Remain:
Dr. Terrence Moore:
Indy Star:
Dr. James Milgram’s Open Letter:
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Comments (3)

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  1. Pete Boggs says:

    Well said.

  2. Pat Plesh says:

    Indiana Education Roundtable:

    Please know that as a concerned Hoosier that has kept up w/the CCS program review that I agree w/Dr. Milgrim assessment as well as Professor Stotsky to reject the new standards and advise the Indiana Department of Education to submit Indiana’s 2006 math and English standards to our institutions of higher-ed to be certified as “college and career ready” in order to maintain our ESEA flexibility waiver. We are grateful to you for your service to Indiana and appreciate your consideration of our request.

  3. Susan Chilberg says:

    The speeds at which these drafts were organized is cause for concern. Are we hurtling down this pass simply to reach a preset deadline? If so, then the obvious course is to go back to the 2006 standards that Indiana had in place and adopt them. Far better to take that as the standard for Hoosier students than to make a horrible mess of what our kids are going to be led into.

    Are we more concerned with a false deadline or with excellent education for our children, who are worth much much more than money?

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