What is on the minds of many parents in St. Tammany Parish became obvious this month when one after another stepped to the microphone during a parish School Board meeting to complain that Common Core is infiltrating their children’s math homework.
So, despite many months of debate on the controversial new national standards, the board has scheduled a special meeting Thursday devoted solely to the issue. It will begin at 7 p.m. at the C.J. Schoen Administrative Complex, 321 N. Theard St., in Covington.
The agenda includes an administrative update on Common Core state standards and their local implementation.
School Board President Elizabeth Heintz said several board members had requested the special meeting. Besides letting parents voice their views, she said, the meeting will give the administration a chance to update the board and the public about some resources it has put in place for parents and “other things we have in mind.”
The St. Tammany Parish School Board passed a resolution in October asking the state to pull out of Common Core because the implementation of the new standards was flawed, Heintz said. “I stand behind that resolution,” she said.
The resolution also said the standards were imperfect and not reflective of the “norms of our community in all cases.”
But despite the vote, Common Core remained a flashpoint at board meetings during the past year, and the 10 parents who spoke at the board meeting earlier this month were adamant in their criticism.
Several said math problems borrowed from Engage New York, a Common Core-aligned curriculum produced by a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, were showing up in their children’s homework.
“Common Core is a complex issue,” Heintz said. “It’s also an issue that affects children, and, of course, children are very important to parents.”
Heintz stressed, however, that the issue needs to be debated on the state level by legislators, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the governor.
WWL-TV reporter Ashley Rodrigue contributed to this report. Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.