Proposed changes in Common Core won praise Thursday from school superintendents, but whether they will take effect for the 2016-17 school year is unclear.

The issue was the key topic during a meeting of the Superintendents’ Advisory Council, an influential, 23-member panel that advises the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Leaders of a six-month review of the benchmarks in reading, writing and math spelled out the revisions to the school leaders.

“I think there is widespread support for the standards from the education community,” Hollis Milton, chairman of the council, said after the meeting.

But Milton said there also is concern about the ability of the state Department of Education to provide the resources and other steps to effectively implement the revised standards for the start of schools in August.

Milton, who is superintendent of the highly-rated West Feliciana Parish school system, said he earlier assumed the new rules would take effect for the 2017-18 school year only to later hear that state education leaders envision the 2016-17 school year as the target.

“When we talk to Regina she has the same concerns,” he said, a reference to St. Tammany educator Regina Sanford, chairwoman of the 26-member committee that approved the changes.

The revisions are set to be studied by BESE March 3-4.

The package then faces scrutiny by the state House and Senate education committees and Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The process is aimed at defusing controversy over a topic that has sparked heated arguments at BESE, the Legislature and in courts since August 2014.

The Standards Review Committee headed by Sanford has recommended that about one in five of the state’s 1,287 benchmarks be changed, mostly in math for students in grades three through 12.

“We firmly believe the work we have done is a quality product that should be endorsed,” Sanford told superintendents.

Recommended changes include giving teachers more latitude on how to teach the standards, ensuring they are grade appropriate and clarifying benchmarks so they are less subject to varying interpretations.

State Superintendent of Education John White, a Common Core backer, declined comment on the revisions after the meeting.

White said that decision is up to BESE.

However, an information sheet released by the department says officials are preparing for the changes to take effect for the next school year.

“These changes can be addressed with sensible adjustments to curriculum, training, and testing rather than a radical overhaul,” according to the document.

Public school students are using the Common Core academic goals, in earnest, for the second school year.

They will be tested April 25-29.

Milton and others have complained that local educators failed to get adequate help from officials of the state Department of Education before the initial overhaul entered classrooms for the 2014-15 school year.

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