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Common Core opponents expressed fury and vengeance after the Terrebonne School Board overwhelmingly rejected what would have been a symbolic rebuke of the K-12 math, reading and writing student-learning expectations adopted by Louisiana and 43 other states.

David Mounts, a Terrebonne resident and ardent Common Core opponent, said he would coordinate a crusade against re-election of six school board members who opposed the resolution at last week’s meeting. It would have formerly requested state officials to expel Common Core and related testing from Louisiana and revert to state-crafted benchmarks.

“When we go door to door, we’re going to go to every (district) of these guys that voted down, and I’m going to expose some of the data and information we have found to let their neighbors know exactly what they could not support and what they chose to adopt not knowing everything,” Mounts said.

School board primary elections are on Nov. 4.

Board member Debi Benoit authored the resolution and was its only supporter. Opposed to it were board members L.P. Bordelon, Roger DeHart, Donald Duplantis, Gregory Harding, Richard Jackson and Roosevelt Thomas.

Board members Brenda Leroux Babin and Hayes Badeaux were absent.

Louisiana, which ranks 44th and 46th nationally in English language arts and math, respectively, in 2010 adopted Common Core State Standards, which bloomed from a National Governor’s Association collaboration among state governments. States are not – and cannot be – mandated to espouse federal standards.

Proponents say CCSS will improve student learning, ensure their skills translate should they relocate to a new state and help build a competent workforce for the future. Local districts still have freedom in choosing what materials they use to help students meet the heightened standards, they add.

Critics say the implementation has been haphazard, which has strained teachers, students and parents, and that high-stakes accountability measures will not adequately take into account this jagged rollout. Standards shared nationally will mute needs specific to particular communities, they also reason.

Opponents further contend the standards are a federal invasion of local schools, routinely express fear that corrupt learning materials will infiltrate schools and openly regard Common Core as a conspiratorial effort to brainwash children and keep them under surveillance through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing associated with Common Core.

Eleven Terrebonne residents addressed the board prior to its vote last week, all in support of the resolution.

Vicki Bonvillain likened the Common Core debate to that of evolution, insinuating that education is a guise for propagating anti-Christian beliefs. Scientists, she said, “want people to think they evolved from monkeys,” because those scientists “do not believe in God.” She was encouraged to seek election to the board after the meeting.

Lois Lowry’s novel “The Giver,” used as reading material in the Terrebonne public schools, served as the night’s rallying cry.

Victoria Cornes read a passage from the novel detailing a doctor’s euthanasia of an infant who was born 2 inches too small in a dystopia. She labeled the book because of that passage as unfit for classrooms. Stacy Hargenrader, after expressing concern that schools need to better teach pupils how to write, said “The Giver” is the “most appalling piece of literature that I’ve seen written.”

Darryl DiMaggio Sr. referred to the standards only as “Commie Core,” which he said amount to “pure evil indoctrination of the next generation to a socialist, communist mindset.” He told the school board their vote would be remembered as a “turning point in history” and received resounding applause.

Benoit admitted she had no solution but said everyone needed to better understand the ancillary impacts of adopting the standards.

“The standards in and of themselves are fine; I don’t see anything inappropriate or alarming about the standards themselves,” Benoit said. “(But) give us a chance … to relook at this and look at things people are bringing forth to us and see if there’s value in that. Just give us some time to do that, and that’s really the point of the resolution.”

Benoit’s fellow board members did not express support for CCSS in their vote against the resolution, nor did any one explicitly agree with their implementation in discussion of the resolution. But, even as the political tide in Louisiana continues to bash CCSS and PARCC – exemplified by 2016 presidential aspirant Gov. Bobby Jindal’s about-face on the issue – the board stopped short of latching onto the mostly conservative, full-throated frenzy targeting repeal.

Board members’ voiced objections mostly focused on leaving the right to choose standards with state officials but adhering to whatever mandate it may be and refraining from sending mixed signals to the educators tasked with meeting the standards.

“As a board, we have a tremendous responsibility, first of all, to our children, secondly, to their parents, our parents, and third, to our employees, our teachers,” Bordelon said. “If this resolution passes tonight, we will be come hypocrites to our teachers. We will abandon our students and their parents by not giving them the full support that our teachers need, that our parents need to have relative to the success of this board.”

Superintendent Philip Martin said administrators investigate all concerns voiced by parents. He also said students would be assigned alternative literature in the event parents find a selected work objectionable. But ultimately, the adoption of standards is a state issue and local districts must aspire to reach those benchmarks for the sake of students’ futures, he said.

“I do not want to ride the fence,” Martin said. “I do not want to hide behind a tree. If that changes someday, I will change with it.”

Terrebonne is in the process of adopting its 2014-15 curriculum to align with expected student outcomes, with Assistant Superintendent Carol Davis saying she hopes the implemented learning materials will bring stability to classrooms one year after educators scrambled to devise their own curriculum.

As it became clear which way the school board would vote on the issue, one audience member in the packed boardroom lamented, “I just want to slam my head into a wall.”

Afterward, Hargenrader said board members should have reflected the views of their outspoken constituents.

“We’re taxpayers,” she said. “We elected these people. Their responsibility isn’t to the teachers. Their responsibility isn’t to that curriculum. Their responsibility is to the parents in their district. I voted. I vote every year. I never miss.”

H.L. Bourgeois precalculus teacher Eugenie Brown leads class. To the dismay of staunch opponents, the Terrebonne School Board rejected a resolution that would have asked the state to expel the Common Core State Standards from Louisiana.