OUR VIEW: So, what are we supposed to teach kids?
Common Core has been coming down the tracks, and it is here, and of all people, Gov. Bobby Jindal is well aware of these facts.
Jindal has concerns about the educational standards aligned with most of the country, and even if the concerns are the product of a riled up political base from which he will need support to sustain an legitimate run in 2016, he has the right and the mandate to lead in a manner he best sees fit.
Jindal’s opposition to Common Core stems from the people, and that is what is good about our government. Make no mistake, we have our own concerns about the learning expectations crafted by the national governor’s association and adopted by most states.
But the unflexing and juvenile posture Jindal has adopted to wage this battle is inexcusable in its ignorance of reality and disregard for solutions. Jindal’s tactics are a symptom a national political disease, where pettiness is a virtue so long as it obstructs, regardless of what the ultimate cost may be.
Valid questions have been raised on Common Core, and from that discussion solutions have been posed. Local school districts’ control over curriculum and parental rights in material review were redoubled; social security numbers and other student-identification data cannot be used on assessments; accountability measures were loosened to take into consideration an adjustment to the rollout of the new learning expectations.
Now, as you may be aware, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has suspended testing contracts with the CCSS-aligned Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a national effort in which Louisiana participated.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is being asked to procure new contracts for testing services in a way that adheres to Louisiana laws tailored to the adoption of Common Core, the state Constitution and the now-this, then-that whims of its executive.
The school year begins in less than 30 days.
Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education John White asked Jindal to meet with him to discuss a solution, one in which Louisiana assessments would use questions from PARCC for the coming year and obtain new contracts for 2015-16. White offered a two-week timeframe. Jindal chose the last day of the offered period to schedule a meeting, at 4:40 p.m., July 17.
Meanwhile, educators are blindfolded. Mixed signals are flying fast, and uncertainty persists as to what questions the assessments used to gauge their success will actually be asked. A judge may eventually decide, but answers are needed now.
Our leaders commonly tell us that politics cannot displace policy when it comes to education. Jindal’s actions belie that rhetoric as just that, empty words.
To Jindal, Common Core is a serious issue. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to want to apply a serious effort to solve it.