Monthly Archives: June 2014

Here Jindal Takes His Stand

Photo by Adriane Quinlan, NOLA.com, Times Picayune

Photo by Adriane Quinlan, NOLA.com, Times Picayune

I haven’t written about educational topics for a spell. The month of May physically exhausts me, as it does every educator, with graduation, exams, state testing, and the closing down of the school for the summer. I have already written extensively about Common Core, COMPASS, and PARCC testing, wondering if it would ever make a difference.

Jindal signed us into Common Core in 2010. It takes a brave man to recognize an error. It takes an even greater one to try to rectify it.

I’m unsure if I did, but the governor made a splash. After weeks of increasingly passionate speeches, Bobby Jindal made an executive order pulling Louisiana out of Common Core and PARCC testing.

He cited many things: federal intrusion in a state matter; the lack of competitive bidding for PARCC tests; the frustration of teachers who were inadequately prepared; and the advance of the Common Core timetable forced upon districts this past year. The most important factor, however, was the overwhelming anger of parents, whose myriad issues are too many to cover here.

Superintendent of Education John White and BESE Board President Chas Roemer have decried the governor’s decision and have vowed to fight it. I will sarcastically note that every governor looks forward to being told what he can and cannot do by an appointee who would not even have his job if weren’t for the governor. White had minimal qualifications and lacked experience, and so far his actions in office have reaffirmed my lack of confidence in his abilities.

White and others have said it would take the Department of Education a whole year to develop a new test to replace PARCC. What foolishness. We already possess diagnostic tools called LEAP, iLEAP, and End of Course Testing. To evaluate schools, the state DOE has already forced every junior to take the ACT. These tests have been tinkered with and refitted for years, so claiming that we need a new test is simply balderdash.

I think the most professional response came from St. Martin Parish Superintendent Lottie Beebe, who said the following, “We stand tall as leaders and we comply with the Governor’s executive order…. Educators need to be at the table when education decisions are made.”

She cut to the heart of my complaint about Common Core: it was developed by non-educators—i.e., test makers—with little or no input from teachers, principals, parents, or experts in child development. It was funded by billionaires like Bill Gates, whose interest is not the welfare of children, and assiduously supported by organizations (CABL, LABI, ALEC, Chamber of Commerce) whose educational expertise is suspect at best.

How can someone support what is essentially a huge gamble, an educational experiment using our children as guinea pigs with little or no guarantee of success?

Jindal signed us into Common Core in 2010. It takes a brave man to recognize an error. It takes an even greater one to try to rectify it.

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