Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Isn't Indiana Ed. Policy Heading Toward Something Akin to CCSS?

Here's a condensed IN CCSS timeline:

  • Earlier this year, Senator Scott Schneider and others in the state express their concerns about several aspects of CCSS.  Of particular concern is the lack of state authorship or ownership of the new standards.  In addition, Schneider and others point to the lack of rigor in CCSS compared to the current version of the Indiana math and ELA standards which have been deemed "world class" and "internationally benchmarked."  
  • After much debate, the legislature passes (and Governor Pence signs) HB 1427 which, among other things, creates a legislative committee to study the Common Core Standards and offer a recommendation to the State Board of Ed as to whether to drop or move ahead with the standards.
  • The committee convenes a series of public hearings to study the standards, however their final report, at least as of yet, doesn't take a stand as to whether the state should abandon CCSS or move ahead with it.  
So what can we expect moving forward?  This is pure speculation, but this is my take on the matter:

The State Board of Ed, without a clear recommendation one way or the other, will most likely move ahead with Common Core or charge the IN Dept. of Ed with the task of reconceptualizing the current state standards framework into a hybrid document that reflects a lot of what CCSS represents. Recently, we've heard rumors swirling that Indiana, hesitant to embrace the federally-funded consortia-designed assessments, has concerns about what to do next about a state assessment.  This State Impact article suggests that Indiana (and other states wary of PARCC or Smarter Balanced adoption) may look elsewhere to purchase its state assessment.

Unless I'm misunderstanding things, it sure seems like we are headed down a path that bears a striking resemblance to a policy commensurate with those states that have adopted CCSS and the corresponding consortia assessments.  For a multitude of reasons (cost being one), Indiana will most likely not design its own independent state test to align with whatever standards framework it ultimately approves.  This is noteworthy in that one of the rationales given for the "timeout" was the lack of any local role in creating the new standards and tests.  So, if Indiana is not going to design its own test, what options does it have left?  Doesn't it stand to reason that whatever test the state decides to use will, in some fashion or another, be aligned to Common Core?  Given this, doesn't it also stand to reason that Indiana will have to adopt a standards framework that, if it's not called "Common Core," will have to look and feel a lot like it?   

What am I missing here?

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