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Special BESE meeting sought on Common Core

by Associated Press

BATON ROUGE — A member of Louisiana’s top school board says she and three other panel members want a special meeting to discuss upcoming Common Core tests, including students who skip the exams.

The Advocate reports Lottie Beebe, a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, made her comments in an email Wednesday to BESE President Chas Roemer.

Beebe said those seeking the special meeting are her; Jane Smith, of Bossier City; Carolyn Hill, of Baton Rouge; and Mary Harris, of Shreveport.

Beebe, Smith and Hill are veteran BESE members who have long criticized issues surrounding the new academic standards, including test plans.

Harris, who was recently named by Gov. Bobby Jindal to fill an unexpired term, has expressed concerns about the new classroom guidelines, which took full effect at the start of the current school year.

At her first meeting earlier this month, Harris tried to add Common Core test plans to the board’s March agenda.

State Superintendent of Education John White said that, if such an item was added to the agenda, it would mean that BESE would be grappling with the issue one week before about 300,000 students take the tests.

Harris’ proposal failed 4-7.

Common Core is a series of new standards in reading, writing and math.

The dispute over test plans is just the latest in a controversy that has gone on for 17 months.

Beebe, who is superintendent of the St. Martin Parish school system, said if there is no special BESE meeting on exam plans, she wants the topic added to the March agenda.

“There is growing concern relative to students who will opt out of testing,” she said in her email.

“I might add that there is also confusion among superintendents and central staff personnel regarding consequences assigned to those students who opt out of testing,” Beebe wrote.

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