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Web letter by Chuck Ford: Hoosiers rejected Common Core standards in addition to Bennett

As a former teacher, I have spoken out many times on the issue of schools. My concern is whether the House will follow the Senate and pass Senate Bill 193, postponing further implementation of Common Core Standards and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers tests for one year, allowing closer scrutiny by the citizens of Indiana and their legislators.

The best estimate from the Department of Education is that PARCC will cost the state better than three times what ISTEP+ currently does. ISTEP+ is rated as one of the top three state-created standardized tests in the nation. I maintain that if the wheel isn’t broken, why fix it?

Teacher evaluations can easily be created in conjunction with ISTEP+ test results. This could be done with teacher support and not the added burden and expense of professional development required to impose the faulty methodology associated with Common Core and PARCC.

I was asked to help Tony Bennett in his campaign last year. Before accepting, I questioned him on Common Core and teacher evaluations. He provided me a lot of information on both. I still had questions and concerns about both, but I supported the voucher system Indiana developed and agreed to talk with teachers to see what their positions were. What I found was that the majority of teachers not only did not intend to vote for Bennett but displayed a bitter hatefulness that I had never seen in education to that time. RISE, the evaluation tool being used by most school corporations, was, as Bennett admitted, the worse of the two tools put forth and approved by the Department of Education. He pointed out that the third option was for schools to develop their own tools. Some schools had done that; the majority, however, adopted a premade tool

Even though teachers and Glenda Ritz must be given much credit for the campaign and her eventual win, they alone could not have beaten Bennett. It was resistance to Common Core that turned the tide. Parents and concerned citizens began to take a close look at Common Core. They not only rejected Common Core, but rejected Bennett along with it. The almost complete loss of support for Bennett by conservative groups and informed moms in Indiana over Common Core pushed Ritz over the top.

Without question, the biggest political upset of the 2012 election was the defeat of Bennett. House members should take heed. Voters will remember and be reminded by citizen action groups who supported SB193 and who did not.