In a prelude to final votes in the Louisiana Legislature, a public hearing is set for 9 a.m. Friday on the revised Common Core academic standards.
The gathering is a requirement of legislation approved last year aimed at ending years of squabbling over the new benchmarks in reading, writing and math.
The changes were recommended by a 26-member panel called the Standards Review Committee.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education endorsed the committee’s recommendations 11-1 on March 3.
The meeting Friday will be held by the staff of BESE, which sets policies for about 720,000 public school students statewide.
Comments for and against the changes will then be part of the BESE record, and summaries will be sent to the leaders of the House and Senate education committees, Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, and House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia.
When the legislative committees will act is unclear.
The 2016 regular session ends June 6, and a special session is expected to start shortly after.
House Education Committee Chairwoman Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette, said Tuesday her panel may tackle the issue June 2, during the special session or after that gathering.
Landry said the committees have to take up or down votes on the new standards by June 27.
If both committees approve the changes, they will be sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Common Core critic, who has said any revisions need to be substantial.
If they are rejected by the panels or Edwards, a second review would be launched, and the current benchmarks would remain in place.
The Standards Review Committee — mostly teachers — called for changing about 20 percent of the 1,287 math and English guidelines.
The largest percentage of alterations focused on math and English standards for students in grades three through 12.
“I attended one of the meetings and saw the work they were doing,” Landry said.
“They were really in the weeds,” she said. “I think they put a whole lot of thought into it and hard work, and I was really impressed with the work the committee did.”
State Rep. J. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs, one of the sponsors of the bill that required the review, was less enthusiastic.
“I think they will tell you 20 percent of it has been changed,” said Pope, who is former superintendent of the Livingston Parish school system.
“A lot of it is cosmetic, quite frankly,” he said. “I don’t think many of them are substantial.”
Pope also said Friday’s hearing is less than he expected when the 2015 law was passed.
“I think that they needed to have a hearing, but quite frankly, I am not sure this is a hearing,” he said. “You go in and put information down, and they will take it and decipher it and go from there.”
About 300,000 students in grades three through eight took exams — called LEAP 2016 — on the current standards last month.
Those results are expected in July and will allow comparisons with students in 10 other states and the District of Columbia.
Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.
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