Adopted by a unanimous vote, the Webster Parish School Board is resubmitting a resolution asking the state of Louisiana to withdraw from the Common Core State Standards.
Board member Ronnie Broughton asked that it be passed again this year because the board has three new members and the 2015 legislative session will begin next month.
“We passed this resolution last March,” he said. “We have a new board, and this resolution goes to the legislature; it goes to all the BESE members, (State Superintendent) John White, all gubernatorial candidates. It goes to everybody that will have something to do with it.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls says when CCSS was implemented, 43 states had immersed the standards into their school systems; now that number is down to nine.
“The main concern with states pulling out is it wasn’t the standards that were the problem,” he said in an interview before the board meeting. “It was the curriculum that follows the standards that’s the problem. When people finally got the curriculum and started to teach it and started to see what was in it and found out how far off it was from the old Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum, people started balking.”
He says the standards were rolled out without any type of support material to guide the teachers on how to teach it. There were no textbooks, no guidelines, no workbooks, nothing. Teachers were handed the standards and told to figure out how to teach them, he says.
Last Thursday, a federal court denied the Department of Justice’s attempt to throw out Gov. Bobby Jindal’s lawsuit against the Department of Education, allowing the case to proceed.
“Gov. Jindal argues in the suit that the Obama administration has used federal grants to compel states to enter binding agreements to adopt and fully implement a single set of federally-defined content standards and to utilize assessment products created by a federally-sponsored ‘consortia,’” officials with the governor’s office say.
State Rep. Gene Reynolds, district 10, says if the suit prevails and Common Core is withdrawn from Louisiana, the legislature is already working on a solution to replace it.
“There are some solutions in the works now on Common Core,” he said. “To me, the governor should stay home and engage locals, the legislature, the BESE board and Department of Education. That’s the way you fix things. I’m optimistic that we can find a solution to this thing. I know there’s a lot of people working behind the scenes to get that done.”
He says his objection all along has been when people say ‘Get rid of Common Core,’ they have no plan with which to replace it.
“Now, I think a plan is near,” he says. “I think they are wanting to transition over to a set of standards and curriculum people can agree to, and I think people are now beginning to talk a little bit. So, I feel sure that we’ll have a solution to this coming up. BESE can do a lot, and once we see what they do, we’ll just have to see what bills are filed.”
If CCSS is discontinued, other questions arise, such as what will replace it, a timeframe for doing so and what will it look like?
Reynolds and Broughton both brought up the fact that a new governor will be elected next year and that could make a huge impact on education decisions.
“Whatever we do from this point on needs to be something the new governor can live with,” Reynolds said. “In the next few weeks, I think we’ll see some movement on that.”
The 2015 legislative session will begin April 13.