Local school boards staying the course

Published 8:45 am Monday, June 23, 2014

Despite Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent announcement of his intention to scrap Common Core academic standards, local public school officials said their schools are going forward in establishing the standards for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Despite objections from the Legislature and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jindal issued executive orders on June 18 to withdraw the state from the tests associated with the standards as a way of withdrawing the state from Common Core.

Jindal called for Common Core to be replaced with “Louisiana standards and a Louisiana test” in the classroom.

When asked her thoughts on about Jindal’s decision, Washington Parish School System Director of Curriculum and Instruction Mary Jones prefaced her remarks with a statement from system Superintendent Darrell Fairburn:

“I know you are probably wondering about the future direction of the Washington Parish curriculum in light of the controversy between the governor and the state superintendent (John White) concerning Common Core and PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers),” Fairburn’s statement said. “Let me assure you Washington Parish will stay the course with rigor. Any professional development we have planned is still on track.”

Jones said curriculum is emphasizing high standards.

“In Washington Parish, our emphasis has been on rigor,” Jones said. “This was a transition year for Common Core in that more Common Core-type questions were used on PARCC. Common Core is a generic term in that we’re working toward rigor, a set of standards that are rigorous in nature. We’ve been rolling them out weekly. Washington Parish has shown steady growth in our test results.”

Bogalusa City Schools Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor April Nobles took a similar stance.

“As far as Bogalusa City Schools are concerned, we’re still moving forward with the implementation of Common Core,” Nobles said. “We’ve done all the preparation and training. Our teachers are ready to roll with Common Core.”

Nobles said she realizes Jindal’s motivation.

“One of the things I believe Gov. Jindal is trying to do is give control back to the state and the districts,” Nobles said. “He views (Common Core) as a federal intrusion. Gov. Jindal feels the federal government is taking control.”

Without the support of lawmakers and the Louisiana Department of Education, it is unclear whether Jindal’s efforts to withdraw the state from Common Core will succeed. Some of the state’s top education officials maintain that Jindal overstepped his authority in issuing the order.

Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina did away with Common Core standards in the spring.

A handful of other states are studying the possibility.