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Mushrooming critiques of Indiana’s alternative to the Common Core

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Yes, Indiana has opted out of the Common Core standards, but not out of the standards controversy.  The reviews are beginning to come in.  Rick Hess, of the American Enterprise Institute, for instance, says Indiana has created a mess for itself.  Here’s the meat of it:

To avoid losing its waiver, Indiana is rushing to adopt a new set of standards by April 28. Meanwhile, to avoid raising Washington’s ire, Indiana’s state board of education is debating whether to double or triple the amount of standardized testing next year — just to cover its bases. Schools would test once on the old standards, once on the new, and possibly a third time on an assessment to “bridge” the two. This would significantly increase both the amount of testing for kids and the costs of administering exams.

The tight timeline and absence of an alternative proposal mean that those who are crafting Indiana’s new standards have defaulted to basing them on the Common Core standards. Prominent Common Core critic Sandra Stotsky was shocked when she received a draft copy of the new standards. “I almost fell off my chair,” she said. “In grades six to twelve, it was almost identical to Common Core.”

Meanwhile, teachers have been left at sea, with little guidance on what they’re supposed to teach or how their students’ performance will be gauged. If schools are going to implement new standards next year, teachers need time to plan and school systems need time to vet and then purchase new instructional materials.

Fordham Institute critiques the new effort as “Potemkin standards:”

Repealing the Common Core left the state’s teachers and school districts with no curricular or instructional guidance, and it left the state Department of Education little time to finalize a new set of K–12 English and math standards or to develop a workable implementation plan for those standards. (Indeed, there was so much confusion that state leaders proposed administering two entirely different summative assessments this year, considered adding a third in September, then scrapped plans for the second and third tests—and are still wondering what tool to use to measure student achievement as they transition away from the state’s existing ISTEP test.)

At the same time, Indiana Department of Education officials scrambled to develop new “college- and career-readiness” standards for Hoosier schools—which are obligatory under the state’s ESEA waiver agreement. The first draft of the new standards was released for review in February; the second draft was shown privately to a small group of national experts in March. And the final standards were released earlier this week and are to be voted on by the state Board of Education at its April 28 meeting.

What are they like? Like the Potemkin villages built to wow (and deceive) Catherine the Great, they are intended to impress—and very possibly will deceive.

….

read the details here.

And here’s more, from State EdWatch, on EdWeek.


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