I heartily welcome this Louisiana legislative session with its record number of bills concerning educational reform in Louisiana. I have also noticed that some are unhappy with that. My response, inspired by the Disney movie Frozen: Let It Go!
Louisiana made a dreadful mistake four years ago by listening to Governor Bobby Jindal and the BESE Board. The legislature adopted Common Core without exploring it: developed mostly by test-makers and funded by billionaires (Bill Gates) who want to apply market-economy, business-model solutions to the education world. Teachers, the REAL educators, were not invited for the creation, though supporters repeatedly parrot that “thousands” of teachers gave their input but conveniently never mention specific names.
That beautifully-orchestrated, stealth campaign used all the right phrases: it would improve our children’s lives; it would make them competitive in a global economy. Backed by a governor with presidential ambitions and later implemented by a Superintendent with one-seventh the teaching experience I have, the pliant BESE board and the Legislature blindly agreed to adopt a system never tested nor statistically proven to do the things it said it would.
Four years later, parents are in an uproar over data-mining, confusingly-written homework problems, the age-inappropriateness of the questions, and a Superintendent who decided on his own to push up the implementation date of Common Core, leaving 69 school districts to scramble and develop their own curricula. This disaster should fall squarely on the Superintendent, and the Legislature has wisely stepped in.
BESE board President Chas Roemer has expressed concerns that Jindal has “crawfished” on his support of Common Core. The Advocate quoted Roemer that the BESE Board “reaffirmed our position (on Common Core) in our January meeting. We think this is the best plan for children.”
How would he know? Has he ever been a teacher? The goal of Common Core is to create a “workforce” rather than educate children, so how is that the “best plan” for our children?
BESE Board member Holly Boffy, former Louisiana Teacher of the Year, is distraught that the Legislature is threatening to pull out of Common Core and develop its own standards. She was quoted in the aforementioned article that “something should have been done four years ago.”
She’s right. Four years ago, we never should have adopted this piece of junk. She claims that it is frustrating to teachers that the Legislature is meddling now, but it is even more frustrating to a great many more teachers that the Legislature and BESE saddled us with this albatross in the first place. It is refreshing to see a Legislature grapple with serious issues and listen to their constituents, to admit belatedly that this grand experiment should be stopped.
Better late than never.