Indiana Governor Avoids Common Core Controversy

Published March 25, 2013

In five days, nearly a thousand Indianans and a coalition of 55 organizations signed a letter to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, requesting that he support a bill to reconsider Common Core.

Although he visited the press conference releasing this letter at the state capitol March 21, Pence’s staff was “unable to reach him for comment” on the matter, said spokeswoman Bridget Cleveland late the next day. 

This although Pence press secretary Kara Brooks promised in a March 21 email, “I’ll give you a response shortly.” She did not. 

Common Core is a list of what every child must know in each grade in math and English. Forty-five states plan to replace their K-12 tests with national Common Core tests. Science requirements are due to publish in a few months. 

“The Common Core is not the instrument to raise student achievement in Indiana,” the letter says. “Its centrally controlled standards lack both field testing and international benchmarking. No evidence can be shown that Common Core will lead to student gains or an improvement in Indiana. Furthermore, the Common Core subjects all students to a set of standards which are pedagogically laced with unproven methods and techniques, and which subvert independence in curriculum choice.” 

Sitting on the Bill
The coalition sought Pence’s help in shifting House Republicans, who are currently sitting on a Common Core bill that passed the Senate 38-11 in a bipartisan vote.

Indiana Senate Bill 193 would require a cost analysis and public hearings on Common Core before the state continues putting it into place. Currently, Common Core operates in kindergarten and first grade classrooms. House Education Committee Chairman Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) has so far refused to hear the bill, effectively killing it unless he changes his mind by mid-May. 

Behning’s spokesman said neither Behning nor the spokesman would comment. 

Hoosiers Against Common Core coordinated the letter, which they released with representatives from the 55 supporting organizations and members of the House Education Committee. Signatories include a bevy of Tea Party groups, businesses, and family organizations. 

The letter also asks Pence to replace state board of education members, which the governor appoints, with ones who oppose the Core. 

Pence should “return control of Indiana schools back to the state and to parents and teachers, where it belongs,” said grassroots leaders Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle in a statement.


Image courtesy of Heather Crossin.