On Monday, July 29, 2013, Governor Pence sent a letter to Governing Board Chair, Mitchell Chester of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) informing him of Indiana’s choice to withdraw from the program. PARCC supports the Common Core Standards (CC) that measures student success in school. Pence stated that, “Indiana’s educational standards must be rigorous, enable college and career readiness, and align with postsecondary educational expectations to best prepare our children to compete with their national and global peers,” and that “assessments must also align with these high standards.” Hoosiers have expressed concerns about the value of Common Core Standards for months and Pence’s announcement, for many, was a welcome song.
After concerned parents, teachers and community members voiced a strong disapproval for the Common Core Standards, Pence signed HEA 1427 on May 11, 2013 into law requiring a “pause” on CC adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010. Many Hoosier parents for instance still have concerns about the nationalizing of education for their children. Moreover, teachers have expressed frustrations with limitations set upon them and their methods of instruction for their students. Another serious concern is the involvement of various interest groups such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce (amongst others) in promoting CC in Indiana. Parents want to know, why does the Indiana Chamber of Commerce (an organization unconnected to the Board of Education) have any authority in approving or lobbying for legislation that directly affects Hoosier children?
These and many other questions from Hoosiers led Governor Pence to sign HEA 1427 in the first place. On Monday, he reaffirmed his commitment, “I support the legislative intent of HEA 1427 and firmly believe it is the right and responsibility of the state to make independent, fiscally responsible decisions regarding standards and assessments for the good of all the people of Indiana.” Hoosiers were preparing to address their concerns with Common Core Standards at the hearing scheduled for Monday, August 5, 2013 before Pence’s announcement this week. Although Pence’s letter has informed PARCC of Indiana’s intention to withdraw from the program, PARCC would need a letter from Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz as well to begin the process.