The Indiana General Assembly passed a bill Monday night that would delay implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) until state officials study and hold public hearings on them. Gov. Mike Pence must still sign the legislation, but according to the Indianapolis Star, he said his team worked with the legislature “on language in that bill and from what I know of the bill it came in right where we wanted it to.”
The Common Core State Standards provide guidelines for what material and concepts should be taught in math and language arts for grades K-12. Only four states failed to adopt the standards after their release in 2010. Since then, opposition has developed from both the political right and left.
On the right, critics worry about more federal intrusion into education. That worry was magnified by the Obama administration’s decision to connect the standards to the $4.35 billion Race to the Top competition between the states. Some critics worry the Common Core neglects literature in favor of informational texts and focuses too narrowly on college and career readiness.
On the left, American Federation of Teachers head Randi Weingarten fears tests based on the standards might be used to evaluate teachers, and historian Diane Ravitch warns they will increase the influence of for-profit businesses on public education.
Teachers are also split. Early childhood experts Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige wrote an essay noting that the the K-3 standards were written without the participation of a single K-3 or early childhood teacher. But sixth grade teacher John Spencer wrote on his blog that the Common Core will be good for his urban students. The standards reflect “a push away from some of the basic, repetitive skills and a push toward critical thinking,” he wrote.
As Indiana waits to see if Gov. Pence signs on to a slow down, at least six other states are having second thoughts about the Common Core.