Education
5:17 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Indiana Governor Defends Halting 'Common Core,' Kentucky Governor Talks Charter Schools

The Common Core standards and charter schools were discussed Monday when Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence appeared on a panel in New York City on public education at the state level.

Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

The panel is part of NBC's 2013 Education Nation Summit

Beshear was questioned about why Kentucky has not adopted charter school legislation when most states have. He says some charter schools aren’t as effective as traditional public schools and he wants public funds to go to public schools.

Some argue that charter schools—often managed by an outside organization or group—aren't public schools and drive money away from more traditional school systems. Gov. Pence, in his comments, rejected this notion.

But Beshear says if Kentucky did adopt charter legislation—which it has failed to do in recent years—local school boards would need to be involved.

“If we do something like that in Kentucky [charter schools] it will be to put that tool of a charter school in the hands of our school boards. If they need that, if they see it in their district—a need to do something like a charter school to straighten out a low performing school or something like that, then that approach might work in Kentucky," Beshear says.

There are a variety of charter school laws states have adopted, some having tougher restrictions than others.

Kentucky and Beshear were also called leaders for being the first state to adopt the Common Core standards that update what students should learn in math and English language arts.

Gov. Pence defended Indiana’s decision to halt implementing the Common Core standards that most states have now adopted and says education should be a state function and not something decided on a national level.

“I think the education standards in our state should be written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers and of the highest magnitude. And as we go through the process of evaluating Common Core in light of existing Indiana standards that’s really our lodestar and I really believe that’s in the best interest of our kids," says Pence.

Pence told the audience if Indiana adopts the standards, it’ll be after they’ve had a chance to carefully review them. He adds that the state has not rejected the Common Core (Indiana has actually already implemented the standards for early grade levels).

“I want to be clear of Indiana’s position: we’re just taking a look at Common Core and we’re evaluating it," says Pence.

“How long is that going to take?” asked NBC news anchor and moderator Andrea Mitchell. 

“In the next year. We’re going to resolve it in the next year," he says.