With all the budgetary drama roiling the State Capitol, there should be little appetite for resurrecting a controversy over Common Core academic standards. We hope that’s the case when the House Education Committee faces old Common Core challenges that committee members have generally turned away over the past couple of years.
The committee majority should hold firm. After two years of full implementation of Common Core standards, we believe the experience in schools doesn’t justify such a radical departure at this point.
“After some bumps in the road getting started two years ago, the word out of the classrooms is that things are proceeding along just fine,” says Core backers at the Council for a Better Louisiana.
CABL is correct and we hope that the long process of increasing academic standards in our schools will continue.
From the beginning, we felt that objections to the Common Core process were overblown. After all, many educators worked on the new standards for mathematics, reading and writing at the behest of state leaders in education, including Louisiana.
Most, though not all, states have adopted the standards. It’s never been the federal plot to take over Louisiana education, one of the overblown objections raised by Gov. Bobby Jindal over the past year.
Nor are higher academic standards going to violate the rights of parents, any more than the old LEAP tests did, or any test does. They are measurements that make sense if they are measuring student progress on what is taught in classrooms — what academic standards achieve.
Legislative proposals that are intended to curb Common Core at this late date would likely lead to reverting to old tests that don’t challenge students to learn more and do better work. And that’s a best-case scenario, because a wrangle between the Legislature, the governor and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education over testing could result in a mess that undermines the larger goal of school accountability.
The BESE members have already voted — unanimously — to advance by a year the statewide review process scheduled for 2017. The review is to look at the standards in depth, with the vast bulk of input coming from teachers and professional educators.
To short-circuit not only years of progress in the classroom but also a professional review of the standards that is getting underway suggests that this is less about orderly change in schools than politics.
“The governor continues to rant against the standards, but his complaints are ringing more and more hollow while his statements are sounding more and more political,” CABL noted.
Legislators on the Education Committee have looked into this in great depth over the past few years. We hope they continue to back higher standards and don’t climb down into politics over policy.