Indiana pulled out of the Common Core standards earlier this week out of fear that the national guidelines would undermine the state’s sovereignty and its unique education needs. But it turns out that the committee appointed to draft the new standards is close to embracing some of the very same guidelines the state rejected.
The loudest opponents of the Common Core are already raising concerns that the state’s new approach is too similar to the national expectations. A ThinkProgress comparison of the education guidelines reveals numerous instances where the draft Indiana standards are copied word-for-word from the Common Core.
For instance, both sets of 12th grade standards seek to “Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics” and “Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.” Numerous similarities exist at other grade levels as well (click to enlarge the graphic):
State education officials admit that the Indiana guidelines are modeled on “several sets of previous expectations, including the Common Core,” potentially undermining opponents’ claim that the standards themselves are inappropriate. Instead, the drafting process seems to imply that concerns about the federal guidelines are more political in nature.
After all, Indiana enthusiastically championed the uniform standards in 2010, after the state’s Republican superintendent of public instruction reviewed the guidelines in draft form in 2009. Leaders from Indiana’s K-12 and higher education communities engaged in the development of the common assessments associated with the tests and the state’s business community embraced the guidelines as a way to create “a more highly skilled workforce.” Opposition to the Core, which some national conservative advocacy organizations are using to advance a more conservative education agenda, did not fully develop until President Obama encouraged states to adopt the standards though the Race To The Top education competition.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who had promised that the new state standards would be written “by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers,” is now trying to downplay the similarities between the Core and the emerging Indiana guidelines. “Where we get those standards, where we derive them from to me is of less significance than are we actually serving the best interest of our kids,” he said.
The draft guidelines are being revised now and are expected to be ready by July.