While Governor Jindal has not used his executive authority to reverse the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s 2010 adoption of Common Core Standards, he has issued an Executive Order that effectively halts the purchase of a test that promises to be aligned with Common Core because of an alleged illegal procurement process.
In response, parents and educators opposed to Common Core again recommend that BESE engage in a revision of our own highly rated Louisiana Content Standards that would enlist Louisiana teachers, curriculum specialists, university teacher education experts and qualified national consultants in a process heretofore utilized by states nationwide that would offer sufficient opportunity for public scrutiny and input before final adoption.
Superintendent White’s primary opposition is based on his empty claim that a revision would cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and would take years to complete. The release of documents through a public records request of the Louisiana Department of Education proves those claims false.
Former Supt. Paul Pastorek directed a revision in 2009 of our Louisiana ELA, math, social studies and science standards to comply with the proposed rigor and college/workforce readiness provisions of Common Core. While there were certainly additional costs associated with release time for Louisiana classroom teachers who produced the revisions, the largest expense was a contract to WestEd in the amount of under $1.2 million to facilitate.
Half way through those revisions, Pastorek got “word” that he would be provided with complete ELA and math Common Core Standards in spring of 2010. According to documents provided by LDE, our Louisiana social studies standards were completely revised but production was halted on ELA and math.
In 2010, before revision, our standards were rated B+ in a review by The Thomas B. Fordham Institute which stated “Louisiana Standards are strong in both content and rigor.”
In 2013, EdWeek’s Quality Counts rating awarded Louisiana’s own Content Standards an A+, second in the nation. The millions of dollars John White speaks of have in fact been those squandered on poor implementation, as yet insufficient technology upgrades and districts scrambling to write curriculum and provide inadequate resources. At just under $30 for each of our 700,000 students, administration of the proposed PARCC test itself will cost over $20 million each year.
Louisiana citizens are being hoodwinked by John White. BESE is compliant! It’s time for control of Louisiana education to be returned to Louisiana education experts and parents.
Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT,
Abita Springs, La.