Indiana Daily Student

New Indiana academic standards approved

The Indiana State Board of Education approved the new Indiana Academic Math and English/Language Arts Standards on Monday with a vote of 10-1 for each. Board member Andrea Neal was the only one to vote no for both standards.

Before the voting took place, members of the public came forward to express their opinions about the new standards. Most in attendance spoke out against approval.  
Tim McRoberts, principal of Speedway High School, said he did approve of the new standards.

“We’re ready to move forward,” Roberts said. ”The teachers are ready to move forward.”

Stephanie Engelman, a parent who attended a rally last week against the new proposed standards, also attended the SBOE meeting Monday.

“We still have Common Core in Indiana,” Engelman said.

The new standards are just a sloppy rewrite of Common Core, she said, and Indiana needs to take its time making standards that are superior.

The Board was required to approve new standards for Indiana by July 1 of this year.
Molly Chamberlin, Danielle Shockey and Sam Snideman, members of the Standards Development Leadership Team, gave a presentation about the process involved in making the new standards.

More than 150 educators and industry leaders were involved in drafting the new standards, working more than 6,000 hours, according to the presentation. One hundred people testified to explain their thoughts on the standards, and more than 2,000 people participated in a public comment on the new standards.

Before the math standards were voted on, board members were allowed to discuss their ideas.

Neal reiterated concerns of Jim Milgram, a mathematics professor at Stanford University. In a statement released from board member Tony Walker’s office, Milgram said the math standards were not “first rate” international level math standards.

Neal suggested the board delay adopting the standards and make some changes. Her statement was met with cheering from some of the audience members.

Walker said there needs to be less of an emphasis on standards and more of an emphasis on education inside the home through getting parents involved in their children’s education.

Board member Cari Whicker said it would be impossible to create a set of standards all Hoosiers would be able to agree on. She said all Hoosiers want what’s best for Indiana kids and said teachers are ready to know what they will be teaching next year so they can spend their summers preparing.

After the vote on the math standards, Superintendent Glenda Ritz motioned to adopt the English standards.

Neal, the only one who opposed the adoption of these standards, said she thinks the standards are empty skills sets that are not as rigorous as Common Core or previous English standards. Neal said the 2006 English/Language Arts standards should be

Most board members, though, voted to adopt the new standards, with many emphasizing they have Indiana children’s education at heart, because they have children of their own in school.  

“Today we adopted rigorous career and college ready standards that were developed through a transparent and comprehensive standards development process,” board member David Freitas said in a press release. “These standards will empower Indiana teachers to develop targeted lesson plans that will enable Indiana’s students to thrive and prosper in our global economy.”

IU President Michael McRobbie issued a statement in favor of the new standards Monday.

McRobbie said in an IU press release the new standards would better prepare students in Indiana for success in college, particularly through the heightened requirements in math and science and other STEM disciplines.

“These standards, in particular the strengthened math requirements, will reduce the amount of remediation necessary for students entering college,” McRobbie said in Monday’s statement.

Improving STEM education in the United States has been a national issue lately, and McRobbie said the new standards would help Indiana students to be more competitive internationally.

He said he applauded Pence’s decision to include experts from Indiana colleges and universities in the creation of the standards.

“I am especially pleased that Governor Pence sought the expertise of our state’s colleges and universities in establishing these educational standards,” McRobbie said.

“Experts from Indiana University were deeply involved in this important process, and we wholeheartedly endorse these high-quality education standards.”
The new standards will be implemented for the 2014-15 school year.

Anna Hyzy contributed reporting.

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