By Benjamin Goad - 03/24/14 01:25 PM EDT
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Monday signed legislation dropping education standards adopted by nearly every state, claiming the Hoosier State would be better served by its own learning benchmarks.
Indiana becomes the first state to drop the Common Core standards implemented in recent years to prepare American students for college or the workforce.
President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have embraced the standards, offering the Race to the Top federal grant program as an incentive for states to participate in Common Core.
The standards have drawn complaints from critics, who argue they are amount to unwarranted federal control over the nation’s schools.
“I believe our students are best served when decisions about education are made at the state and local level,” said Pence, a Republican who served in the House leadership during a stint in Congress.
Indiana has set about developing its own standards, which Pence pledged would be rigorous.
“By signing this legislation, Indiana has taken an important step forward in developing academic standards that are written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, and are uncommonly high,” he said.
Forty-five other states still use the standards, and the Obama administration has lashed back against suggestions that the federal government is trying to exert control over local schools.
“The federal government didn't write them, didn't approve them, and doesn't mandate them. And we never will,” Duncan vowed in a speech last year. “Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading.”