Debate simmers over Common Core

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How students in grades K through 12 learn in Indiana is at the center of a debate, and educators will make some key decisions this week about Common Core. Today and tomorrow, these teams of educators will hold meetings to draft a new set of learning guidelines for students. 

Common Core was a national standard the state board adopted in 2010 along with more than 40 other states.  But, over time, some Indiana educators and Governor Mike Pence have decided the guidelines aren't rigorous enough for Hoosier children to make them college and career ready.  But, when it comes to fixing the problem, there is some disagreement between Republicans and Democrats about to move forward.

"I'm in favor of the CC, because if our students are going to be ready to be a part of this whole nation, then they need to master the standards.  My concern as a Democrat is how we phase it in to make sure it's comparable, if not superior, to what we're doing here with our state standards," said Democrat State Rep. Vernon Smith. 

"We wanted to make sure our standards are unique," said Republican State Rep. Bob Behning. "Indiana standards that they are college and career ready is the most important part of it, and that they are developed by Hoosiers and meet the requirements that Common Core would or whatever."

Dr. Lewis Ferebee, Superintendent for IPS, the state's largest school district, said, "More rigorous standards are great and they can be a benefit to our students, but they're only as good as implementation. It's important for us to have the resources to provide professional learning opportunities for our teachers.  To unpack those standards and have a deeper understanding so they can implement those standards in the classroom.

"But, I also ensure they have instructional resources in line with those standards," said Dr. Ferebee. 

Meanwhile, as new guidelines are being drafted, legislation is floating through the Statehouse to stop Common Core with the end of this school year, planning to implement the new standards in the fall.

Public hearings on the new plan will take place February 24-26 to give lawmakers important feedback.