Gov. Pence Endorses Sub-standards

Gov. Pence Endorses Sub-standards
April 23, 2014

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)

School Choice Weekly #34

Either Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and his advisors can’t tell what will foster a good K–12 curriculum, or they don’t care. Monday, Pence voted for a set of curriculum and testing mandates to replace Common Core, even though a chorus of Cassandras has warned the new standards are of lower quality. Pence congratulated himself for being the first governor to rid his state of Common Core as a crowd of several hundred anti-Common Core onlookers booed him and the committee that cast the vote.

No one without a vested interest has a word of praise for these false-termed standards, which go to the state board of education this coming Monday and will likely pass since Pence controls the board. Everyone else, both pro- and anti-Common Core analysts, trashed this Common Core replacement.

The leader of an organization that wrote Common Core, Achieve, Inc., noted the new standards’ similarities to Common Core. The College Board’s Kathleen Porter-Magee called them “Potemkin standards” for “expectations built with a façade that impresses but with very little enduring substance.” Hillsdale College professor Terrence Moore, an Indiana resident who previously led one of the nation’s best charter schools, called them an “absurd jumble” that, among other sins, dilutes crucial phonics instruction. Despite opposite math philosophies and positions on Common Core, two nationally recognized mathematicians the state asked to comment on the mandates agreed it constitutes brain gruel.

Pence’s decision is all the more foolish because Indiana has been renowned as one of the two or three states with the highest standards in the nation. That was a central reason parents complained at descending into Common Core. Now Indiana has even worse standards than the Common Core Hoosier mothers and fathers spent three exhausting years attempting to defenestrate.

Pence was warned of this. The governor had a series of private meetings with state board of education members, grassroots activists, and the national experts he asked to examine its first draft, and all told him it would not meet his promises of “uncommonly high” standards if he did not get better writers--preferably teachers rather than education department bureaucrats. That first draft generated a flurry of disapproval from all quarters and discredited its creators. Pence preferred, instead, to keep his inept tailors, then proclaim Indiana’s invisible new suit of education clothes is exquisite.

If he goes for a national campaign in 2016, expect Pence to tout himself as “the governor who ousted Common Core.” But don’t be fooled. Pence has shown his loyalties lie with the administrative state, not with the American people.

MORE INFORMATION: Indianapolis Star, Liberty Fund, Fordham Institute, Indiana Policy Review


School Choice Roundup

Common Core Watch

  • SOUTH CAROLINA: The state superintendent will pull South Carolina from national Common Core tests, he said a week after the state board of education voted to keep them. The week before that, the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) told school districts to stop Common Core pilot tests underway, since the state was pulling out. Schools are confused about how to respond.

Education Today

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)