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White: Common Core is full steam ahead

4 years 10 months 5 days ago Wednesday, August 20 2014 Aug 20, 2014 August 20, 2014 4:26 PM August 20, 2014 in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Russell Jones and Chris Nakamoto

BATON ROUGE - Superintendent of Education John White confidently said Wednesday that plans to fully implement the Common Core education standards in Louisiana would continue, a day after a judge dealt a blow to efforts to stop the process.

White held a press conference Wednesday morning to detail the next steps in the implementation process. Louisiana has been folding in the Common Core standards for the past four years, and is scheduled to complete that process at the end of this school year.

"Everyday we take attention away from the classroom and keep it in the courtroom, is a day of opportunity lost for the young people of Louisiana," Superintendent John White said.

On Tuesday, Judge Todd Hernandez granted a temporary injunction that suspended executive orders and other actions taken by Governor Bobby Jindal to remove Louisiana from Common Core and cancel its contract for the PARCC standardized test. The judge ruled that a group of parents, teachers, and charter school managers were likely to prevail in their suit against Jindal for his actions.

The governor, who supported Common Core before changing his position earlier this year, issued a press release Wednesday which listed opposition from other states against the standards. Jindal and other conservatives claim the standards represent a federal takeover of education, even though they were developed by volunteers from a group of states including Louisiana.

At the press conference, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols told reporters she is still concerned about the contract used by the Department of Education to purchase common core test questions.

"I have a statutory obligation as Commissioner of Administration to protect the use of public funds," Nichols said. "I have to make sure as we disperse state funds it's done in accordance with the law."

Jindal's executive orders this summer triggered a political showdown over who ultimately controlled the course of education in the state, the governor or the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Jindal claimed BESE and White didn't follow state procurement guidelines when they set up the PARCC contract, but Hernandez noted in his ruling Tuesday that Jindal's administration was involved in that process and never raised any objections at that time. The judge also said it was clear that pulling the contract was harming the state's education system by preventing teachers and parents from knowing what exactly they were preparing their students for.

White calls the Judge's ruling very clear, and hopes the back and fourth ends.

"I'm disappointed and saddened this language is not clear enough to set us down a path where we can get out of the court room and disputes and start focusing on kids," White said.

The Jindal administration said it will appeal the ruling this week.

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