Indiana Senate Passes Bill to Reconsider Common Core

Published February 22, 2013

The Indiana Senate on Thursday passed Senate Bill 193, a measure providing for public hearings around the state to reconsider adoption of Common Core education standards. The vote was 38-11, with all Republicans and three Democrats voting for the bill. It now moves to the Indiana House. 

House Education Chairman Robert Behning (R-Indianapolis) told School Reform News he has not heard from members or constituents that they want this bill heard, so is not inclined to do so. He’s the one who decides whether the committee will take it up if House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) assigns it there. Bosma may also assign the bill to the rules committee. A SRN request for comment from Bosma is pending.

The Common Core details what K-12 kids should know in math and English. Forty-six states have adopted it, while eleven are reconsidering that choice. In Indiana, major concerns are the cost to switch textbooks, train teachers, and implement new tests, and the loss of local control over tests and curriculum.

In Florida, where former Indiana state Superintendent Tony Bennet is now the state education commissioner, the board of education this week requested an extra $400 million for technology for Common Core tests. Bennett recently said he is composing a “Plan B” in case the national tests don’t come through. 

Indianapolis mom Erin Tuttle, who co-founded Hoosiers Against Common Core, said she was pleased by the vote’s large margin, and that it was bipartisan. 

“If Representative Behning would allow the bill to be heard and evidence presented, I think the House of Representatives would consider passing the bill a no-brainer,” she said. “All we want is for the information to get out.” 

Senate Bill 193 puts the Common Core on hold while the state department of education conducts information meetings in each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts. It requires a state board of education member to attend every public meeting. Then, the state board of education would have to publicly re-vote on the measure. 

It also requires the state to conduct an in-depth cost analysis of moving to the national standards, and to put parents on the state’s academic standards committee. 

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, supports the measure. 

Image by Jim Nix.