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Bill undermining Common Core advances

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INDIANAPOLIS - The Senate passed a bill Thursday that puts a pause on the Common Core curriculum standards in Indiana until the state Board of Education re-evaluates the national program and gathers public opinion about it.

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, author of Senate Bill 193, said the purpose of the legislation is to stop Common Core from full implementation as state officials take a deeper look. He said he wants the Indiana Office of Management and Budget to see how much Common Core is going to cost.

"I think it's safe to say there are a lot of layers on this issue," Schneider said.

Common Core is a national set of education standards that was developed by policy makers in states across the country and endorsed by President Barack Obama.

In 2010, the Indiana Board of Education voted to begin implementing Common Core and last year the state adopted the national standards for English and math. So far, the state has not implemented the science, social studies and history standards.

If the bill becomes law, the state board would have to hold a series of public meetings before moving forward with Common Core. At least one member of the board would be required to attend each meeting.

Schneider said Indiana's previous standards were superior and he wants the board to go back to that curriculum - although the legislation would leave that decision to the board.

Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, opposed the bill, saying that in the Senate Education meeting about the measure there were far more supporters of Common Core than there were opponents. She said that helps families - such as those in the military - who move often because the standards are meant to ensure the school curriculum is comparable among states.

Rogers also said only one teacher spoke in opposition to Common Core while the others in attendance were for Common Core. "It was the kind of excitement I haven't seen among teachers in a long time," Rogers said.

But Sen. Tim Skinner, D-Terre Haute, said states have economic and cultural differences and probably should have different school standards.

"States are not the same, they are never going to be the same," Skinner said.

The bill passed 38-11 and moves to the full House for consideration.

Jesselyn Bickley is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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