BESE: La. will continue to implement Common Core
BATON ROUGE - State education officials defied Governor Bobby Jindal Wednesday afternoon, saying Louisiana will continue to implement Common Core education standards.
This came just an hour after Jindal's announcement that he would seek to remove the state from the program.
Superintendent John White, whom Jindal appointed, said Louisiana schools will continue plans to start using the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career exam, or PARCC, in the 2014-2015 school year. He said that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has the authority to keep the standards in place, not the governor.
Chas Roemer, president of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said he, White, and Jindal all signed an agreement in 2010 to develop tests that would allow the state's performance to be measured in comparison with other states, and that Jindal did not have the authority to withdraw the state from Common Core without support from both Roemer and White.
Roemer said continuing down the Common Core path was BESE's legal obligation, and called Jindal's actions a political ploy.
"Four years ago, our board committed to measuring learning in comparison with states across the country, and two years ago the Legislature put this plan into the law. BESE is continuing to implement that law," Roemer said.
"State and federal law have long required that Louisiana measure literacy and math performance through standards and annual tests," White said. "By using test forms and questions that make results comparable among states, we are following the Legislature's mandate that we not only measure but also compete."
Jindal earlier accused BESE of breaking state law by not following the competitive bid process before implementing the PARCC exam. The governor said he signed an executive order telling BESE to bid out for a new test, but BESE says they followed the law during the implementation. You can read more about the board's legal justifications for continuing Common Core by clicking here.
The Louisiana Association of Educators teachers' union also expressed concerns about Jindal's move to end the state's Common Core agreement. LAE President Debbie Meaux said it puts educators, parents, and children in the middle of a political fight.
"It worries us that Governor Jindal waited so long to make a decision that puts school districts and teachers in a bind when it comes to making sure everything is ready for the first day of school," Meaux said. "The focus should be on what's best for Louisiana's school children."
She said members of the teachers' union hope the state properly examines all public school standards and aligned tests, but they're worried about a possible rush to find a test to replace PARCC.
BESE said nearly 45,000 Louisiana students tried out the resulting PARCC forms and questions in March and April of 2014. The state Department of Education also posted information about how Common Core is taught, including video from a Common Core classroom lesson, on their website.