BESE offers "final" Common Core compromise
BATON ROUGE - State education officials sent a final compromise proposal over Common Core issues to Governor Bobby Jindal Wednesday, offering to bid out for contracts on new standardized tests for the next school year if certain conditions were met.
The proposal came from Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Chas Roemer, Vice-President Jim Garvey, and Secretary Holly Boffy. Click here to read it.
BESE said they would agree to holding a request for proposals period as the governor requested, but only if it would be finished in 90 days. BESE said that would complete the process quickly enough to give schools and teachers the time needed to prepare with whatever test was chosen. BESE also said they would require any test submitted to meet certain standards so that Louisiana students' results could be compared with results from other states.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols previously said BESE and White broke the law in allowing existing contracts to cover the PARCC exam, and reiterated the Jindal administration's demands that a new test be bid out through the RFP process. Today, Nichols said she would be happy to work with BESE on the proposed timeframe, but wants to make sure the RFP is "truly competitive." To that end, Nichols said a team from the Department of Administration will oversee the proposal process. She did not anticipate that causing any delays.
Superintendent of Education John White is scheduled to meet with Jindal Thursday to try and reach a decision over the Common Core education standards and the PARCC test that was due to be implemented this coming school year. Jindal recently joined national conservative backlash to the Common Core standards, claiming they were a federal intrusion on education. Jindal issued executive orders to try and remove the state from Common Core and cancel the contract that would pay for the PARCC exam, triggering a political showdown between the governor and BESE.
BESE reminded Jindal in their letter Wednesday that Common Core was not created by the federal government, but by a volunteer group of educators from multiple states including Louisiana. BESE said more than 45,000 Louisiana students have been involved in developing and vetting the test questions which would be used on the PARCC exam, and that schools in the state have been preparing for the past four years to introduce Common Core.
Roemer said Wednesday that they issued their proposal in good faith, and wanted Jindal to show he wasn't just trying to take away education decisions reserved for the BESE board and give them to the governor's own appointees.
"We fear that a convoluted procurement process will serve as a politically-charged back room for decisions affecting hundreds of thousands of children," the BESE members said in their letter. "We fear that the administration is using its authority to regulate purchasing to override the body charged by the Constitution and state law with determining the content of state tests."
A previous compromise proposal to use LEAP tests with PARCC questions was shot down by the administration.
News 2 will have more updates on the Common Core struggle on tonight's broadcasts.