Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 29, 2014

Indiana sets new standards for K-12 learning

State approves alternative to Common Core amid concerns

Hoosier students and teachers now will be held to a different — ideally, higher — standard after the State Board of Education approved new math and English language arts standards Monday.

Each set of K-12 standards received a 10-1 vote, which was the final step in Indiana’s move away from the Common Core State Standards. The decision came after an hour of public comment, during which the vast majority of speakers urged the board not to approve the new Indiana college and career readiness educational standards.

Local educators now are left to sort through the new standards and identify what needs to be changed to begin implementation in the 2014-15 school year.

Western School Corp. is in the midst of approving new textbooks and will need to re-evaluate those recommendations and rewrite some curriculum going into the next school year. Superintendent Randy McCracken also is concerned about how students will be evaluated on the new standards.

“When they put the hold on everything, it raised some questions about what are we preparing students for?” McCracken said. “Our teachers will have to adapt their lessons to match the [new] college and career readiness standards. The textbook companies don’t print books specific to Indiana. They print to the mass, and then provide a supplement.”

Reading and writing textbooks approved last year for K-5 students reference the Common Core, McCracken said. Western will have to review its options as it approves textbooks for the older grades this year.

Teachers will be given release time or be compensated for additional time spent over the summer creating new curriculum maps to reflect the new academic standards, McCracken said. He’s glad the new standards were approved before the July 1 deadline set by legislators.

“Timing is important,” he added. “We’ve now got to plan. We’ve covered material in kindergarten and first grade. Now when they get to second [grade], we have to make sure they’re ready to be assessed on that in third grade. In actuality, we don’t know what the assessment will be.”

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