INDIANA has become the first state to repeal Common Core academic standards this year. Oklahoma lawmakers appear headed down the same path, so it’s worth noting how things are playing out in Indiana. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Citizens who insisted that Common Core standards were part of a federal conspiracy and takeover of local schools still think a conspiracy is ongoing, now that Indiana’s version has been repealed.
Last year, Indiana lawmakers delayed Common Core implementation. This year, they voted to repeal the standards. Simultaneously, state officials devised new replacement standards. These standards were developed entirely in Indiana under the oversight of Indiana officials.
The new standards have now been overwhelming endorsed and adopted by the state’s Education Roundtable and the Indiana State Board of Education. The membership of the roundtable, which reviews state academic standards and testing, includes representatives of K-12 schools, colleges, business, labor, parents, the community and the legislature. Thus, its processes involve significant input from local officials.
Yet according to Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news website that focuses on education issues in Indiana, Common Core critics still aren’t happy. Heather Crossin, one of the founders of Hoosiers Against Common Core, described the standards-setting process as a sham. “I’m here to tell you I’ve lost faith,” she declared. “There was an end result in place from the very beginning and this process was designed to give that end result, which was rebranding Common Core.”
Crossin’s group is criticizing the new standards for being too similar to Common Core standards but also weaker than Common Core standards. According to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Indiana schools may now have to spend up to $125 million to train teachers on the new education standards. So officials find themselves having to redirect millions of dollars to implement new standards that may be worse than prior standards — all in the name of placating a group of Common Core critics who refuse to accept victory.
Don’t think the same thing can’t happen in Oklahoma.
Lawmakers here have advanced House Bill 3399 to repeal Common Core academic standards in math and language arts. On March 21, a Senate news release announced the bill would be heard in committee. The release included an endorsement from Jenni White, president of Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE), an anti-Common Core group.
“We are thankful to the bill’s authors for their tireless work on HB 3399,” White said, “and are truly grateful to House and Senate leadership for soliciting our input. It will be a great relief to finally repeal the Common Core State Standards from Oklahoma law."
The legislation quickly flew through the Senate. But by March 30, a post on ROPE’s blog insisted the bill would have no meaningful impact and that Common Core opponents still had reason for outrage.
We’ve noted before that much criticism of Common Core has little to do with the actual content of the academic standards. Instead, opposition appears based on broad conjecture about federal intentions and corporate influence, leavened with a heaping dose of paranoia and conspiracy mongering. Indiana officials are learning the hard way that people inclined to see conspiracies don’t stop seeing them just because you change a law.
Oklahoma lawmakers may soon learn the same lesson.