A topic that used to spark passionate arguments and lengthy hearings — Common Core — produced neither Friday.
Instead, a public hearing on proposed revisions to the standards was over in less than 30 minutes.
Only half a dozen or so speakers showed up for a gathering ordered by the Louisiana Legislature last year in a bid to end controversy over the once white-hot issue.
Common Core represents revised benchmarks in reading, writing and math.
A 26-member panel called the Standards Review Committee, mostly educators, has recommended changing about 20 percent of the academic guidelines.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the changes in March after a public meeting marked by heated arguments, including accusations that BESE members lied.
No such outpouring happened this time.
Instead, speakers took turns quietly spelling out their views in a mostly empty auditorium.
Their comments were recorded by BESE officials, who will forward them to the House and Senate education committees, which plan their own hearings by June 27.
No BESE members were on hand for the brief gathering.
If the House and Senate education committees and Gov. John Bel Edwards approve the changes, that settles the issue for now.
If either lawmakers or Edwards turns them down, educators will have to launch a new review, with the current standards staying in place until any revisions are agreed to.
Keith Courville, executive director for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, praised the revisions and said it is time to settle the issue.
“We have standards made by Louisiana teachers,” Courville said. “We just need to get on with this, move on with this.”
Stephanie Desselle, who follows education issues for the Council for a Better Louisiana, said her group asked national experts to study the revisions, which she said got high marks.
“That gave us great comfort,” Desselle said. “We stand totally behind this.”
Arguments on the merits of Common Core have raged for the past 33 months, especially in 2014 and 2015.
Last year, the Legislature approved three bills aimed at settling the bickering.
One ordered a review of the standards, including a final say from lawmakers and the governor before they take effect.
Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, said local school districts will face costs to implement the revised standards at a time of scarce state resources.
Public schools face a $44 million reduction in state dollars for the 2016-17 school year amid Louisiana’s $600 million shortfall.
Richard also said it is vital that local districts get assistance from the state Department of Education during the next wave of putting benchmarks in place, which he said did not happen the first time.
Keith Leger, a retired educator and an official of Stand for Children, an advocacy group, served on a committee that did the review.
Leger said officials got about 30,000 public comments on what needed to be done with Common Core, which he said helped shape the revisions.
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