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Did Indiana Really Exit Common Core?

To some observers it looks like Indiana's conservative Gov. Mike Pence led the way in making Indiana the first state to abandon the Washington-driven Common Core education standards that were initially embraced by more than 40 states. And Pence supporters say the Hoosier state is now on the way to a unique set of state standards, but Hoosiers Against Common Core and others who oppose "Obamacore" say, "not so fast Mike."

Indiana Common Core Protest

This past weekend Indiana’s conservative Governor Mike Pence appeared on Fox News to talk about the accomplishments of his conservative administration.

And they are many: cutting taxes, less regulation and more job creation, and according to Governor Pence, being the first state to exit Common Core.

To some observers it looks like Pence led the way in making Indiana the first state to abandon the Common Core standards that were initially embraced by more than 40 states. And Pence supporters say the Hoosier state is now on the way to a unique set of state standards

David Masciotra writing for Gannett's IndyStar website said “Gov. Mike Pence deserves a hero’s celebration from teachers, parents and students for the bold action he took to rescue his state, and its children, from the waffle maker of intellectual conformity called Common Core.”

But the leaders of “Hoosiers Against Common Core” say, not so fast Mike.

They claim the “Hoosier Standards” touted by Gov. Pence are anything but Hoosier and merely a rebranded set of “Obamacore” standards.

Erin Tuttle, writing for Hoosiers Against Common Core says, “The justification to dismiss the analysis of experts contracted by the state to provide input on the “new” Indiana standards is based on the idea  that they didn’t represent Hoosiers. After an overwhelming majority of them provided scathing reports citing mathematical errors, incoherent structure, and inferiority, Pence told the Indiana Education Roundtable that he wasn’t concerned with what “outsiders” had to say.  ”For my part, I trust Hoosiers,” he said.

Was he unaware that some of these “outsiders” were, in fact, Hoosiers? Professor Terrence Moore, who reviewed the English standards, is from Angola, IN and Professor James Milgram is a native of South Bend, IN. It seems the real qualifying factor in determining which opinions were valid was whether or not they were favorable of the “new” standards.

Pence had no problem hiring  Sujie Shin, a D.C. insider, to run the Hoosier process. She has no ties to Indiana, yet she’s placed in charge? The Department of Education reported that her duties included:

1.  Ms. Shin is responsible for facilitating the evaluation process for Indiana.

2.  Ms. Shin will train participants on the evaluation process and assist IDOE and Board staff in compiling results of the evaluation.

3.  Ms. Shin will provide facilitation during the reconciliation process to ensure that Indiana’s draft college and career ready standards are of the highest quality.

That’s a major role for an outsider to play in a Hoosier process. Her bio from the federally funded organization she works for, WestEd, states her focus is on helping states navigate transitions, “particularly in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.”

Shin’s area of focus is providing state and district clients with the strategic partnership needed to navigate transitions and growth in their assessment and accountability portfolios, particularly in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. She specializes in the design, alignment, and application of assessment and accountability tools for different stakeholders.

Shin previously worked as the Deputy Chief of Assessment and Accountability for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), where she oversaw the development and administration of assessments and accountability metrics for the District.

While at DCPS, Shin successfully led the process of transitioning the District’s summative assessments and interim assessments to the Common Core, and expanding assessment coverage in both elementary and high school grades and subjects.

Shin received a BA in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley; a California Clear Teaching Credential; and an MA in policy research, evaluation, and measurement from the University of Pennsylvania.”

Tuttle says Pence “took issue with the experts because they didn’t represent Hoosiers.  However, Sujie Shin, an employee of a federally funded, pro-Common Core organization, without a Hoosier bone in her body was perfect to serve as the leader.”

To read Hoosiers Against Common Core's take on the Indiana Common Core "exit" click this link.

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