Amid a lot of politics and posturing, it makes sense for the state’s top School Board to huddle today over the fracas created by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s legal offensive against Common Core educational standards.
The flashpoint is whether the state Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education can legally pay for the tests that would match up with the Common Core, adopted by Louisiana and most other states in 2010 and now a political hot potato.
We think that public opinion is largely on the side of the BESE board members and Education Superintendent John White, who are standing firm on the need for higher standards and the immediate need to ensure the tests are available in classrooms in the coming school year. Jindal’s flurry of executive orders and demands for documents represent a political agenda more than an educational concern about Common Core.
While we think there is much for BESE to chew over, we hope the board members led by President Chas Roemer, of Baton Rouge, opt for a public discussion. There has been talk of hiring a lawyer, as the governor’s executive counsel is already pitching in memos challenging BESE authority.
While hiring a special counsel may be a good idea for BESE, it’s important that the board’s majority does not end up in a lengthy executive, or closed, session; all too often, the public is rightly suspicious that a lot of talking out of public view hides political discussions that really could be made in the open, or mostly so.
We think the board majority led by Roemer is showing courage under pressure. We want them to avoid squandering some of that advantage with the public.