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EDUCATION

Protesters say proposed standards too much like Common Core


By Sydney Murray



About 200 protesters gathered in the Indiana Statehouse Monday to rally against new proposed academic standards for Indiana.

The Indiana Education Roundtable endorsed the proposed Indiana Academic Standards, sending them to the State Board of Education, which will vote on the standards April 28.

The Roundtable met Monday to discuss new proposed Indiana Academic Standards. Before the meeting, a congregation of parents, children and educators protested the standards’ adoption in the statehouse’s South Atrium.

Protesters said the standards too closely resemble the Common Core State Standards that Indiana is trying to leave behind.

Participants wore buttons that read “no to common core” and held signs with phrases such as “vote no on the 3rd draft.”

Hillsdale College Professor Terrence Moore was the rally’s keynote speaker. He said he does not believe Indiana politicians are concerned about Hoosier children’s minds and souls, unlike the protesters.

Moore said the most recent draft of the new standards, released April 15, was just the Common Core Standards warmed over. If the standards were turned into him as a college paper, he said he would give it an F and write “plagiarism” across the top.

“I find the same old mistakes that are throughout the standards,” Moore said.

Moore said the proposed standards don’t embrace phonics and cannot be easily understood by anyone who is not heavily involved in education. He said the standards use words, such as “complexity,” but then don’t elaborate on what it means.

“They are agnostic on what constitutes good reading and good literature,” Moore said.

Students will receive only snippets of literature instead of whole stories, Moore said. If Indiana residents want a curriculum that is academic, rigorous and inspiring, he said, Indiana needs to go back to books with stories that are important for children’s lives.

Rep. Rhonda Rhoads, R-Corydon, and Christopher Judy, a candidate for state representative in the 83rd District, also made brief appearances at the rally. Judy said he believes education works best at the local level.

The movement was also prevalent on social media with #stopcommoncore and #nocommoncorerebrand used on Twitter.

Stephanie Engelman, who has three children in school, attended the rally because she does not believe the federal government should be deciding what Indiana children should be learning.

She said the new standards are a sloppy rewrite of the Common Core Standards.

After the rally, attendees walked across the street to attend the Education Roundtable meeting. Not everyone could fit into the room, and many people had to stand or watch a live stream in another room.

At the end of the Education Roundtable meeting, Gov. Mike Pence and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz endorsed the standards, to the protestors’ dismay.

“As a teacher, I have always trusted Indiana educators to design the best standards for our students,” Ritz said in a press release. “They have always been mindful of the changes needed to meet the future needs of our children. Academic standards are about what our children need to know and be able to do.”

Pence read a statement outlining his approval of the new standards and said he believes the standards were created the “Indiana way,” written by Hoosiers for Hoosiers. The statement was met with laughter, booing and shouts of “No!” from some in attendance.

In his speech at the rally, Moore said the people of Indiana will prove themselves stupid by thinking these new standards aren’t the same as Common Core.

“We have to reclaim the great stories,” Moore said. “We have to reclaim the minds and hearts of our young people.”

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