Is it about the kids or the adults?
Governor Bobby Jindal points fault at the federal government. State School Board Superintendent John White lashes at Jindal. While all along a discussion about how to simply test and rate our children’s education abilities has merely fallen from being about their best interest, to being a political cry of sides.
Four years ago, Jindal and BESE committed Louisiana to these standards that were created by governors with national, education-based groups. They all vowed the standards would be used to compare how students in different states were progressing as they moved from grade to grade. Governors even pooled their state's money to form the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a voluntary group of states developing test questions that can be used by vendors or by states themselves.
According to Jindal, Common Core was great until the federal government budded in. Test questions became more federally censored and the whole process of implementation became a rushed through affair. Because of that, Jindal just had to pull Louisiana out of Common Core and the PARCC consortium he once thought so highly of.
The federal government has been involved in state education policy for decades. President Ronald Reagan introduced national standards, George W. Bush gave us "No Child Left Behind,” and President Obama's “Race To The Top” with its push for charter schools and national standards are just a few examples.
Jindal’s plee of keeping the federal government may have worked, if history wasn’t against him and more seriously if the state legislators and members of BESE had agreed with. Instead, legislators shot-down his proposals to pull out of Common Core this past legislative session. And BESE has refused to stand down when it comes to purchasing "Jindal approved" tests.
And now we’re weeks out from the 2014-2015 school year kicking off and our third through eighth graders have no standardized test in place, not even the iLeap, to measure their progress. Meanwhile, Jindal and BESE are likely headed to court.
It’s should be safe to say Jindal is going to lose this battle. The state law gives BESE responsibility for determining the content of state standards and tests: “The state Department of Education shall, with the approval of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, as part of the Louisiana Competency-Based Education Program, develop and establish statewide content standards for required subjects to be taught in the public elementary and secondary schools of this state…. Standards-based assessments in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies based on state content standards and rigorous student achievement standards set with reference to test scores of students of the same grade level nationally shall be implemented by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.”
Whatever the judgment comes to be, I hope these adults shift the attention back on the children – that’s where it should be.