Fewer writing and math standards are among the initial recommendations of three panels reviewing the Common Core academic benchmarks.

The suggestions are in the first of two drafts before a 26-member panel called the Standards Review Committee settles on its third and final plan.

The recommended changes are set to go to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education by March 15.

The review stems from legislation approved earlier this year aimed at ending 27 months of squabbling over the overhaul in reading, writing and math standards.

However, there has already been criticism that the review is cursory and will produce few changes.

Democratic gubernatorial contender John Bel Edwards wrote recently that if the months-long study does not spark major changes, “it is unlikely that people will perceive that the review was transparent, and this will further prevent acceptance by the general public.”

Regina Sanford, chairwoman of the Standards Review Committee, said earlier this week the alterations will be meaningful.

“My take on the situation is that all of the standards have been looked at by a number of educators sitting around the table,” said Sanford, an educator in the St. Tammany Parish School District. “And in my opinion, I believe that many of them are substantive changes.”

About 100 members, mostly educators, are vetting the new rules, which are in their second year of operation in public schools.

The first draft recommends that writing guidelines be simplified and trimmed, especially in middle and high schools.

In math, the panels want the number of standards reduced and the reorganization of high school math courses into those that draw clear lines between those for algebra I and algebra II.

Other modifications would require early elementary school skills associated with counting money and the development of a long-term plan for adding more math classes in high school, including statistics.

Laurie Carlton, chairwoman of the English subcommittee, said those concerned about the process need to see it in action.

“The meetings are open,” said Carlton, an educator in Plaquemines Parish.

“We are very confident in the process. Watch us at work,” she said. “We are looking at these standard by standard, word by word.”

Three subcommittees are reviewing the academic benchmarks.

They cover kindergarten through second grade; English/language arts and math.

Organizers said the panels have met for more than 40 hours around the state.

The Standards Review Committee will review the subcommittees’ initial recommendations on Thursday at a meeting in Mandeville.

The three subcommittees will meet in December to come up with a second draft of proposed changes for study by the full committee in January.

The final draft will be sent to BESE two months later.

The initial plan is available at www.louisianabelieves.com.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell. For more coverage of Louisiana government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog.