March 25, 2014
Indiana Drops Common Core Education Standards

Indiana has become the first state to drop out of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Although the education standards were adopted by 45 states, they have received stark criticism. The initiative, developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, imposes language arts and mathematics standards on students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Common Core standards were developed to promote education and literacy standards on a federal level. However, critics believe educational standards should be developed at state and local levels. Additionally, teachers and parents are concerned that children are simply being taught to pass a test.

Politico reports that the National Education Association has been vocal in their criticism of the initiative. As the largest teacher's union in the United States, the organization boasts over three million members. While the union admits some educational standards are a necessity, they believe Common Core standards have been "completely botched."

Association President Dennis Van Roekel said at least 70 percent of teachers agree that implementation of the program has been a challenge. Roekel said many teachers are frustrated, as they are simply required to adhere to the standards:

"The very people expected to deliver universal access to high quality standards with high quality instruction have not had the opportunity to share their expertise and advice... Consequently, NEA members have a right to feel frustrated, upset and angry about the poor commitment to implementing the standards correctly."

As reported by Time, Indiana Governor Mike Pence said the state would prefer to adopt their own education standards. Although Indiana is the first state to drop out of the initiative, Pence believes others will follow suit:

"I believe when we reach the end of this process there are going to be many other states around the country that will take a hard look at the way Indiana has taken a step back, designed our own standards... we drew on educators... citizens... parents and developed standards that meet the needs of our people."
University of Arkansas professor Sandra Stotsky has openly criticized Governor Pence's decision. Stotsky said the proposed state standards and the Common Core standards are quite similar, which "makes a fool of the governor."

Although Indiana's standards closely match those of the Common Core initiative, the state will now have the power to make changes as necessary. As Indiana is the first state to drop out of the Common Core initiative, it will be interesting to see how other states respond.

[Image via Shutterstock]