Bert Robinson, an attorney, is dead wrong in his letter to the editor claiming Common Core is federal control of local education. He falsely links that fact to the remark by Leslie Jacobs that claims the state would lose federal monies if it dropped Common Core. I suspect the aid to which Jacobs referred is associated with the No Child Left Behind legislation, created and made law by the Bush administration, and the Race to the Top legislation of the Obama administration, which was launched in 2009.
The No Child Left Behind legislation states that school systems must have in place a system of educational standards (goals) and assessments to measure the success of attaining those standards. The legislation further mandates that school districts compare this mastery across ethnic lines to insure that minority children are receiving an education equal to that of their peers. The Feds could care less about what standards and assessment a state utilizes as long as it can compare educational success across ethnic groups. No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top federal funds are tied to this success.
If Common Core is jettisoned at this late date, one and a half months before the start of school, there will be no standards or assessments in place, and thus no federal money to assist districts. What this attorney fails to understand is that when the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program, a Louisiana-created paradigm of assessments developed to measure Louisiana-designed standards, was operating for the past 20 years in our state, the same federal funds were given out. Louisiana has received over 17 million of Race to the Top funds as of May 2014.
However, there was a problem with LEAP. It was a an educational failure because it continued to prepare students based upon sub-par state-designed standards, creating an educational climate that lead to our students remaining at the 48th ranking in reading skills and 50th in math skills when compared just recently to other students nationally. Unacceptable performance, I hope, for even Robinson, for 20 years of implementation.
Common Core standards were designed by mutual agreement of the states as a whole and designed to eliminate, what I term, this inbreeding problem. The crisis Jindal has created is that standards and assessments take time to develop. Common Core standards took over four years and are still being tweaked. A state can’t develop an educational system of any worth in one and a half months.
No standards and assessments in place, no money under the Race to the Top legislation. Therein lies the concern by educators.
My closing arguments are that these funds are not tied to any particular system of standards and assessments. There is no federal mandate to use Common Core standards, just use something.
Robinson, please remember, initially it was Bobby Jindal’s decision to use Common Core standards before he became obsessed about adopting whatever position is fashionable at the time by ultra conservatives in his delusional thinking that this would help him secure a presidential bid.