I believe that the tide is rising against Common Core, and I couldn’t be happier.
It certainly did not help when Louisiana Education Superintendent John White inexplicably moved up the date for full implementation of Common Core. When Louisiana adopted the Common Core Standards, 2012-2014 were designated as two transitional years, with full implementation in 2014-2015 school year. Suddenly White moved full implementation to 2013-2014 and then provided no curricula to assist this drastic change. Every Parish was left to their own devices and the leadership from White and the Department of Education was nonexistent.
The reaction has been swift. On October 10, 2013, the School Board of St. Tammany Parish passed a resolution asking that Louisiana remove itself from both Common Core and the PARCC tests accompanying it. On October 22, the Vermilion Parish School Board under Superintendent Jerome Puyau passed a resolution requesting a three-year delay of Common Core and any testing associated with it. Representative Cameron Henry (D-Metarie) has promised to fill legislation in the 2014 session to remove Louisiana from Common Core. As of yesterday, Washington Parish has also requested essentially the same thing as St. Tammany, and parishes are sharing their resolutions with each other.
I believe this is only the beginning. Parents and educators are organizing numerous webpages to educate people as well as spreading the word how to defend our students and teachers. Tireless defenders of teachers like Diane Ravitch and Lee Barrios continue to reflect on the flimsiness of Common Core and the assault on public education from the private sector. The chorus of angry, legitimate voices continues to swell.
As parents and educators rally and organize, the supporters of Common Core are circling the wagons. They have resorted to the weak line of logic that removing Louisiana from Common Core would somehow hurt our students, leaving them behind the rest of the country. My favorite line was that “We can’t be left with nothing and put that on the back of teachers and schools.” Actually, that’s precisely what John White just did to the state of Louisiana by moving up the full implementation date. Exactly how Louisiana students would be hurt by our removal from Common Core, supporters can never say.
I have written repeatedly about the problematic and systematically-flawed creation of Common Core, that its twenty-five authors had little or no classroom experience, and that involving teachers in some nebulous “feed-back” loop after the standards were done is not the same thing as involving teachers from the beginning. Supporters of Common Core never address this critical point, always parroting the answer that “thousands” of teachers were involved—somehow, somewhere—without any explanation of what that means. Let me state forcefully that this “reform” movement purposefully cut teachers out of important contributions because this “reform” movement is fueled by people with no respect for classroom teachers.
I wonder which parish will be next to pass a resolution asking for removal from Common Core?