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Jindal versus BESE: Who will win the education standards war?

by Minden Press-Herald

Gov. Bobby Jindal unveiled his plan in March to replace the Common Core State Standards in Louisiana. However, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has countered with a plan of their own.

Jindal wants out of CCSS while BESE wants to use the same content standards but take a year to review them with Louisiana educators. State Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden, says BESE’s plan is a far better one.

“It’s a transition rather than a complete pull out by the roots and go back to what everybody says wasn’t working back in 2004-05,” he said, “which is Jindal’s plan. I find a lot of issues with Jindal’s plan right now.”

Jindal wants to go back to the GLEs, or Grade Level Expectations, and the LEAP and iLEAP tests “with a replenished questions bank” while a new Louisiana content standard is developed, according to officials with the governor’s office.

“These new standards will also set minimum requirements for English Language Arts by giving equal consideration to elements that have been minimized in the Common Core standards, like classic literature and complete works of literature,” officials said. “The new standards will also set minimum requirements for the use of math algorithms that consistently result in a correct answer and follow traditional formulations.”

Jindal’s plan will also include a “transparent standards adoption process that includes parents, educators and school leaders.”

BESE, in its March meeting, maintained its standing with CCSS, and wants to take an extra year to review content standards in English and math.

“It is critical that we provide consistency for educators while maintaining strong accountability,” said Chas Roemer, BESE president. “(This) action paves the way for a more responsive review process that will ensure Louisiana’s academic standards can adjust to the needs of our students and our state, while retaining comparability to other states.”

It will be anyone’s guess as to which plan will move forward, if either one will as October elections loom.

Reynolds says BESE’s plan just makes more sense.

“He (Jindal) will be gone in January,” Reynolds said. “So will the state superintendent, so will a lot of the BESE board. All these people who are making these rules and regulations will be gone. Guess what? Somebody’s got to clean up the mess and try to get things back on track. Right now, with the changing of the guard, the BESE plan is probably the best plan for educators and students going forward until we can get a new governor and a new superintendent and really get a handle on what we want to do and where we want to go.”

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