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Indiana Chamber backing Common Core standards; lawmakers say they need more time

Updated: May 28, 2013 7:54PM



INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Chamber of Commerce highlighted its concerns Wednesday about the state pulling out of the Common Core education standards even as state lawmakers said they wanted to slow plans to withdraw from implementing the new standards.

The Chamber of Commerce sent a press release Wednesday urging implementation of Common Core, a set of standards created by 45 states and the District of Columbia. It states that skipping out of the Common Core system could hurt schools with lower national rankings and result in a loss of federal funding.

If Indiana decides to pull away from Common Core standards, more than 444 schools throughout the state could see their rankings by the U.S. Department of Education drop to a “C,” the chamber said.

In Northwest Indiana, 39 schools, from Hammond to Valparaiso, would be affected, according to data released by the chamber.

In February 2012, the state won approval for a waiver that would provide flexibility for requirements to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Without the waiver, each school would be required to attain 100 percent efficiency on statewide testing.

By opting out, the waiver may no longer apply, the chamber said. If a school can’t meet the perfect score threshold, it would be capped at a “C” as the highest grade attainable.

“If all of a sudden these schools go from an ‘A’ to a ‘C,’ ” said Kevin Brinegar, president of Indiana Chamber of Commerce, “parents will start asking questions, when really nothing has changed.”

By not implementing the standards, schools in Indiana could also lose federal funds for Title I, a program designed to help disadvantaged students. Indiana receives $240 million annually for the program.

“That’s in addition to the costs that schools have already,” Brinegar said. “They’ve been preparing for the new standards, buying textbooks and preparing new curriculum.”

Slow down, study

House Speaker Brian Bosma posted on his Twitter account Wednesday that he, senators and the governor were “working on language to pause Common Core for legislative review, stwide (sic) input.”

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, provided a bill this session that would stop Common Core implementation, but said lawmakers are looking to study it over the summer.

“We’re pretty close to ironing those differences out,” he said. “Right now it would basically call a time-out on further implementation for public review, and study it over the summer, so we can have local input for these standards.”

He said the information from the chamber was inaccurate.

“That press release was hog wash,” Schneider said. “It was full of scare tactics. There’s no language anywhere that Title I funding would be tied to Common Core.”

Recent articles in the Washington Post and Education Week, where

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event April 16, encouraged business leaders to support Common Core.

A spokesman for the Indiana Department of Education did not respond to a request for a comment for this story.



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