The review of Common Core State Standards, as applied to Indiana, has begun. It is a familiar battle, having been fought once before.

The state Board of Education had already approved the Common Core standards in 2010, and Indiana’s schools have been working to implement them in their curriculum.

These standards aim to make sure students at each grade level are making progress toward becoming college- and career-ready.

They also allow students across the nation to be compared with their peers. That makes sense, for they will be competing with the same group for college admissions and for jobs.

The Common Core standards have been criticized as another example of the federal government trying to take over a state responsibility, but that’s just not true. The Common Core standards are not guidelines handed down from the federal government, but those agreed upon by nearly every state.

Even within those national standards, there is room for adaptation to address issues within the state. Indiana should not shy away from that option, as long as the larger goal of being able to compare scores with peers in other states is not forgotten.

Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law calling for a one-year pause in implementation of the new standards while the legislators second-guess the state Board of Education’s decision to adopt them.

Complicating the issue are two factors — the computer glitch that hampered widespread standardized testing in Indiana and a few other states this spring, along with the scandal involving former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett ordering school accountability grades to be changed. Bennett, a Republican, recommended adoption of the Common Core standards, and now all his actions are being scrutinized.

What must not be lost in this debate, however, is that standardized tests and accountability are needed to ensure Hoosier students are learning what they need to succeed in life.

Common Core standards can and should be adapted to include Indiana-specific goals. Even the critics should agree with that.

But don’t just scrap this movement because of the Tony Bennett scandal or the ill-conceived notion that comparing students on a national basis is a bad idea. Indiana students need the Common Core standards to ensure they are well prepared for the future.

— Munster Times

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