Indiana, Michigan and Ohio legislatures halt Common Core funding or implementation

Stateline Midwest ~ July/August 2013

Ever since he led efforts this year to pause implementation of Common Core in Indiana, Sen. Scott Schneider has been fielding calls from policymakers across the country.
“It’s playing out in just about every other state out there,” Schneider says about the recent re-examination of these K-12 education standards.
Schneider, like many other lawmakers opposed to implementation, says he has no problem with Common Core’s goal — establish standards at every grade level to ensure that students leave high school with the skills to succeed in college or the workplace. As ACT test results from every state show, many students are leaving high school not ready for college or careers (see map).
But according to Schneider, the goal of improving student performance can be met without ceding local control and increasing K-12 education costs, both of which he cites as reasons to oppose Common Core.
Entering this year, most states in the Midwest had adopted Common Core, with the lone exceptions being Nebraska and Minnesota. (Minnesota uses Common Core as standards for English and language arts instruction, but not math.)
However, a flurry of legislation this year in the Midwest has raised questions about Common Core’s future in some states.
Indiana’s SB 1427 halts further implementation (the standards were already being used in kindergarten and first grade) and sets out several requirements: completion of an independent cost analysis, formation of a legislative study commission, and review of the standards by the State Board of Education.
By 2014, the board must adopt college and career readiness standards. Common Core remains an option, but so are standards that “supplement or supplant” it.
Similar provisions were included in Wisconsin’s final budget agreement (AB 40). In both states, the final decision on whether to adopt Common Core still rests with education leaders who previously adopted the standards in 2010 — the state superintendent of schools in Wisconsin, and members of the Indiana State Board of Education.
In contrast, a provision in the state of Michigan’s new budget (HB 4328) bars the funding of Common Core implementation without legislative approval. 
Bills to prohibit or limit state involvement in Common Core fell short this year in Kansas and South Dakota. Under legislation originally proposed by Sen. Schneider (SB 193), the Indiana Board of Education would have been prohibited from adopting Common Core. Fellow legislators, though, balked at taking control of the decision away from the state Board of Education.
Now, he hopes the delay in implementation will help convince more leaders in Indiana that the state’s previous education standards — and the process used to create them — are a better option than Common Core.
“You look through the roster of people involved in setting our [previous] standards, and you see heavy input from people with an interest in or a knowledge of local education,” he says.
Common Core, a multi-state effort led by the National Governors Association and The Council of State Chief School Officers, was built off model state standards already in place. As a result, proponents say, it will increase instructional rigor in the classroom. They note, too, that the standards describe the skills students should have; decisions about curriculum are still left to local educators.
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