Indiana school system jettisons Common Core standards - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Indiana school system jettisons Common Core standards

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GEORGETOWN, Ind. (WDRB) -- Indiana students will soon see new tests, new teaching and new state standards.

With the head of Indiana education in town, we're asking why the state is backing out of the Common Core standard and what it means for the classroom.

The students at Georgetown Elementary School probably thought the woman visiting them on Tuesday was a substitute. But then again, subs don't come with news cameras in tow.

"I told them that we had a very important person coming," said Alison Taylor, a teacher at the school.

But the backdrop for Indiana School Superintendent Glenda Ritz visiting the school to read to students Tuesday was the story surrounding state testing.

"I don't' think what teachers are going to experience is another whole upheaval," said Ritz.

Last week, Ind. Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill that withdraws Indiana from the national Common Core standards in English and Math. The tests offer one unified way to assess and teach students across the country. Forty-five states adopted the measure. Indiana becomes the first to drop it.

"I've only ever taught Common Core," said Taylor. "That was how I learned to teach, and so I've done it since I started. It's all I know."

Which is why some teachers are concerned by the decision.

Others support it, saying Common Core standards overreached, asking 6-year-olds like Raegan Davis to learn skills like persuasive writing in kindergarten.

"It's not about Common Core or no Common Core," Ritz said. "It's about the individual standards at the individual grade level and what kids should know and be able to do."

"Teaching main ideas about reading passages to students is teaching main ideas, whether it's the way Common Core worded it, or a different way," Ritz added.

Ritz says a committee of teachers, including three from Floyd County, education experts and business leaders, are creating new rules particular to Indiana to be adopted at a state Board of Education meeting on April 28.

"I do think it could be challenging, but the bottom line is these kids have a certain curriculum that they're going to learn from, and no matter how the standards are written on paper, our teaching practices will stay very close to what we do now," Taylor said.

This is the third major change in state testing in Indiana in just six years. In 2009, there were old state standards. In 2010, Indiana adopted the Common Core, and by the 2015-2016 school year, they'll be a new measure of accountability.

"What do you say to those teachers who say this is another change and we're worn out?" asked WDRB's Gilbert Corsey.

"Whatever changes there will be, they can be assured there will be a smooth transition," Ritz said.

Georgetown Elementary was ranked a four-star school in Indiana following the last round of student assessment. It's more than a score at stake: it's Reagan's future.

"I've been reading three smart books," Reagan said.

Ritz also visited Prosser School of Technology, Slate Run Elementary and the Boys and Girls Club in New Albany Tuesday afternoon

The current Istep test will remain in place until the new standards take effect.

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