BATON ROGUE – These days, Louisiana’s K-12 system feels more like a “professional” wrestling match than a responsible government agency, and it’s all thanks to Common Core.
It wasn’t too long that Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and John White – his hand-picked state superintendent of education – were working together to implement bold education reforms in The Pelican State.
But now, Jindal and White are locked in a bitter dispute over the experimental Common Core learning standards and the accompanying tests. Jindal was once a Common Core supporter, but he has now determined the nationalized standards give the Washington D.C. far too much influence over what gets taught in Louisiana classrooms.
White remains an enthusiastic supporter of the Common Core experiment.
Jindal has become such a strong opponent of Common Core, that in recent weeks has used his executive authority to prevent Louisiana schools from administering the PARCC exam – a national assessment based on the one-size-fits-all standards and created with funding from the federal government.
Jindal believes White may have improperly chosen PARCC without soliciting bids from other testing companies. The Jindal administration is reviewing the contract process, with the result being that Louisiana teachers and school leaders don’t know which test they’ll be giving students during the upcoming school year.
However, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education supports Common Core and wants PARCC tests to be given to students beginning this fall. The board may force the issue by filing a lawsuit against Jindal on the grounds that he is overstepping his authority.
In case all of this posturing and maneuvering isn’t confusing enough to the average Louisiana resident, Superintendent White recently announced that he’s willing to let schools continue giving the old state standardized test (the LEAP) – but with one catch: The LEAP will use at least some PARCC-generated questions.
When questioned about how many PARCC questions might wind up in the LEAP exam, White refused to specify. Some are interpreting that to mean the LEAP would really be the PARCC test, only by a different name.
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Even if Jindal prevails in his fight against the federally-funded PARCC test, Louisiana law “requires that next year’s tests use ‘nationally recognized content standards’ and be scored against the results of students across the nation,” reports NOLA.com.
It’s all a jumbled mess, and it’s all thanks to Common Core.
Common Core has turned one-time friends into political enemies. It’s destroyed public trust in the entire education reform movement, and it’s created a level of confusion that makes it difficult for schools to go about the business of educating children.
By pushing this untested monstrosity onto Louisiana and some 40 other states, Core supporters – a group that includes Jeb Bush and Bill Gates – have effectively squandered precious time, money, energy and political capital that could have been used to achieve genuine, time-tested K-12 reforms.
As a wise man once said, there’s a limited amount of damage that stupid people can do. For colossal blunders, it takes people with high IQs.