Is last minute change of course on Common Core a mistake?
The Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) believes that Governor Bobby Jindal’s recent “concerns with Common Core” should be cause for concern for the State of Louisiana. Jindal has said he’s opposed to “federal, one-size-fits-all testing that potentially breaches student privacy” and added that Louisiana should withdraw from the consortium of states developing a new high-quality test to measure student performance based on Common Core standards.
But according to CABL, that would be a huge step in the wrong direction.
The Common Core represents higher academic standards to better prepare students for college and careers. But they mean nothing without a strong, well-designed test that’s fully aligned to those standards. To develop that test, Louisiana joined a consortium of states called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which is scheduled to administer the first of these tests next year.
Louisiana is a governing state in the PARCC consortium and has been actively involved in it since its inception in 2010. The state has contributed 26 educators to help develop the new test and this spring nearly 25,000 Louisiana students in close to 500 schools participated in field tests of the new assessment.
Now the governor is suggesting that Louisiana abandon all those efforts and change course just as all that work is about to come to fruition. From CABL’s perspective, this would be a major step backwards for public education in Louisiana for a number of reasons.
To address some of the concerns that have been raised, CABL explained that PARCC assessment is not a “federal” test, as it was developed by a consortium of states. If it’s a one-size-fits all test, then so is the California Achievement Test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the ACT – all of which Louisiana students have taken at various times over the years. CABL believes it’s a step above those tests because of all of the Louisiana input that has gone into PARCC.
CABL believes that abandoning Common Core would cause major disruption and create chaos in classrooms around the state that could go on for years. Also, if Louisiana creates its own test, it would lack the international rigor of PARCC, cost tens of millions of dollars to develop, and lead to another period of transition that would likely last through the end of the decade.
Lastly, without a national test, Louisiana parents and taxpayers, who annually invest $8 billion in state and local taxes for public education, will have no idea how Louisiana kids are performing compared to their peers in other states.
CABL believes sticking with the five-year trajectory to administer a high-quality, nationally-recognized test next year based on rigorous Common Core standards is critical.
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