Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Louisiana Governor Drops Common Core and its Assessment Group

Update: from Jindal's press release (bold mine):

The Governor said the state is no longer committed to implementing the PARCC assessment in the 2014-15 school year, rendering it unable to comply with the terms of the June 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between the State and PARCC. In addition, several changes have occurred since the MOU was signed that make Louisiana’s membership in conflict with Louisiana law. He also cited teacher dissatisfaction and concerns over one-size fits all federal standards, and highlighted that the federal government has rushed its implementation.

Governor Jindal said, “It’s time for PARCC to withdraw from Louisiana. We won’t let the federal government take over Louisiana’s education standards. We’re very alarmed about choice and local control over curriculum being taken away from parents and educators.  Common Core has not been fully implemented yet in Louisiana, and we need to start the process over. It was rushed in the beginning and done without public input.

“If other states want to allow the federal government to dictate to them, they have every right to make that choice. But education is a primary responsibility of states, and we will not cede this responsibility to the federal government.”

The Governor said the MOU does not allow for a competitive bid process for the test, which is required under Louisiana law. Additionally, other vendors have entered the market that offer comparable assessments at lower costs and allow greater input from, and accountability to, the states that hire them. Louisiana law requires the state to choose the lowest cost responsive bidder.

BUT, Louisiana's state superintendent of schools sees it differently:

“The state will continue to implement the Common Core Standards… this is a long term plan we have been working on for four years and committed to another 10 years of implementation. We are not willing to subject our children to last minute changes to throw our system into educational chaos,” White said.

End of update.

From Deutsch29 blog:

Jindal just finished a press conference.

His words, summarized:

PARCC selection did not comply with La state law requiring a bidding process– this voids PARCC agreement. Jindal has asked for a financial audit of PARCC spending and an open, competitive bidding process for assessment.

He said that suspending PARCC is what he was able to do immediately via executive order.

He also contacted NGA and CCSSO and terminated La’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Common Core (CCSS). He said when he signed on, he did not realize the federal control that CCSS would bring into the state.

He charged the La State Board of Ed (BESE) to produce state standards and state assessments. He wants BESE to work with legislature on this.

More to come.


Anonymous said...

Local personality Cliff Mass just got this published:

Now that we have won a great K-5 curriculum, we must now address the next battle.

MIF will not by itself lead to better outcomes for our kids. We need the teachers to actually learn more math. They can't teach it if they don't know it. Washington's K-8 teacher certification standards set a low bar for math knowledge, and many, probably a large majority of K-8 math teachers in WA, have insufficient math content knowledge.

So now what is imperative is that the school district establish a high quality professional development program. The program must teach math content (like how to add two fractions of dissimilar denominators, and the conceptual reasons why the procedures work). If the professional development is not designed for the core purpose of raising the level of math achievement of our K=5 teaching corps, then we will not see any improvement in K-5 math scores flowing from the implementation of Math In Focus.

My teacher friends and co-advocates for high quality math curricula tell me that the typical professional development provided by the district is heavy on constructivist pedagogy, and pretty much absent math content.

So here is how parents can help now: copy or paraphrase one or more of any statements below with which you are in agreement, and send to your principal AND school directors. It is very helpful if you cc the school board. You can cc individual directors (Peter, McClaren, Patu, and Peaslee, in particular) or cc the full board at

Thank you for taking time to do this chore. It may well help to bring about better outcomes for all our kids across Seattle, and put tutors like me and companies like Kumon and Sylvan Learning out of business! .


Anonymous said...


1. Write to your k-5 principal, and let them know how happy you are about the new adoption, and that your are looking forward to seeing it implemented.

2. Write to the school board, and tell them how important it is that the professional development program emphasizes the teaching of MATH CONTENT, rather than "pedagogy" and rather than how to access the bells and whistles of MIF. The PD needs to be designed to RAISE THE MATH ACHIEVEMENT of our teaching corps.

3. Write to your middle school principal, and tell them you hope that CMP is soon replaced with the grades 6-8 of Math in Focus or with JUMP, and that s/he will support that adoption when the 6-8 adoption process is underway

4. Tell the board that you want the team of district math coaches, and one lead math teacher from each K-5/K-8 school building to take 10 to 15 days of training from Richard Bisk (or from some other expert in teaching math content to teachers). Dr. Bisk has evidence that his 15-day program is sufficient to raise the level of math achievement of even math phobic teachers to such a level that they can become effective teachers of math. My perception is that our district's math coaching core is pro-constructivist and anti-direct instruction. These coaches are supposed to work with classroom teachers to help them become better math teachers. If we get at least these people to take the courses that raises their math content knowledge to the level of at least pre-algebra, then they might be more "constructive," and help to cause a better more effective implementation of Math In Focus, with results that will show up in student test scores

5. Tell the Board that - unless the math coaches are willing to take a course similar to Dr. Bisk's -- you want the math coaches replaced with people that can score at least at the Algebra level on the COMPASS test. The COMPASS test is the placement test for community college courses. All new entrants to the state's community colleges must take this test. You could even suggest that the Board write a policy that sets reasonable minimum qualifications for math coaches.


Anonymous said...

There is some debate in Louisiana regarding Jindal's authority to drop the Common Core and the state's participation in PARCC. The legislature took action this past legislative session to affirm its support for the CC and PARCC (although Jindal vetoed the bill).

The state superintendent as well as the state board of education are strong supporters of both CC and PARCC and both have declared their legal authority to retain the state's involvement in CC and PARCC and have declared that the governor does not have the legal authority to unilaterally make this decision.

More to come.

--- swk

Po3 said...

Common core is dead. WA dumping $$$ into a corpse.

Anonymous said...

Po3, please explain.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would say it's in critical condition. No matter how many "pump it up polls" anyone takes, there is definitely something amiss in a large and widespread way. That it runs right into the presidential aspirations of some GOP candidates is a problem for it.

But really, this mess is of CC creators and supporters making. Jindal is not wrong about the lack of clarity OR the huge push to "get this out!"

If it wasn't so serious, I'd be laughing.

Disgusted said...

When parents see their 5-8 year olds crying, feeling anxious and vomiting over Common Core exams, CC will be taking a hit in Wa. matter how many dollars are poured into the CC campaign.

Curious: How does swk feel about the level of stress placed on young children?

ben said...

We're not going to abandon the Common Core for the same reasons as any of the states that have done so up until now. So in my mind I'm still waiting and not willing to say its dead or dying etc.

So far, more promising than this news or the string of likely other conservative states that will withdraw over time are the calls to delay assessments.

Anonymous said...

Nope. Not even in critical condition. Of the original 45 states that adopted the Common Core State Standards, only Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina have dropped the standards. Of those three states, Indiana has essentially adopted a set of standards nearly identical to the CCSS and South Carolina has communicated that they will essentially retain the CCSS through 2014-15.

Louisiana HAS NOT dropped the CCSS. Your title is premature if not downright incorrect.

It's not even a mess and wishing doesn't make it so.

--- swk

Disgusted said...

Well...I'm certainly hearing rumblings from very large swaths of people.

Quick, quick, throw those dollars into the campaign, now! Quick, quick, have LEV get to Inslee and other legislators with their money and influence!!

mirmac1 said...

When adoption was via backroom deals, and costs to implement are plainly obvious, then I think the trend is clear...

Anonymous said...

mirmac, what's the trend to which you refer? Three states are a trend?

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Disgusted, I've been in this game a long time. And it is my hypothesis that the "stress placed on young children" in regard to the tests is more often than not a direct result of the level of stress the adults in their lives place on them. In other words, it's not the tests that stress them out but rather their teachers.

And the stories of students crying and vomiting all over their tests is greatly exaggerated. Your own child(ren) might have done this but it's not occurring on a widespread manner. That is fact.

--- swk

ben said...

@swk - Sure most kids are not going to vomit but that's just a straw argument. A lot more realistically the pass rates after the first assessments are given here and/or the amount of time parents perceive is spent on testing/testing prep are likely to produce blowback.

Anonymous said...

Ben - thanks for lending some sound arguments rather than straw arguments and hyperbole to this issue.

(1) The pass rates for the Smarter Balanced assessments is likely to go down considerably since the cut scores will be considerably higher than the MSP/HSPE/EOC. That will cause some consternation, no doubt.

(2) The testing times of Smarter Balanced will be almost the same as the MSP/HSPE/EOC, i.e, there should be no increase in testing times.

(3) I agree that the amount of time in test prep is ridiculous, especially given that there is no statistical evidence that extended test prep increases scores. A well-taught student should do well. Of course, students should be introduced to the type of questions they'll see on the assessments periodically throughout the year; however, hours upon hours of test prep is inappropriate and unhelpful.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

SWK seems to have the corner on facts. Obviously, it's different depending on what media you read.

It will be interesting to see this play out.

Another Parent said...

The Common Core will certainly evolve, but it’s already won. Just look at math adoption in Seattle. Selecting materials because of their “closeness” to the Common Core seems questionable. But all three finalists “adhered” to the Common Core, and that seems far less contentious. Adherence to the Common Core has already become a must have feature for math publishers, and that it will remain that way for at least the next 20 years.

Even if half the states officially “drop” the Common Core, many of their school districts will still continue to consider it in their selection criteria and analysis.

Do we need to test kids in kindergarten or three times a year? That’s a side issue that is really irrelevant. Will the Common Core be too slow or too fast for some schools and districts? Sure and they will find ways to adjust. Will some states and districts write their own derivations for political or other reasons? Sure, but it’s unlikely they’ll start from scratch. And will the standards themselves be revised over time? No doubt. But will the publishers and the testing vendors drop their alignment? Why would they? And for that reason alone, the Common Core is here to stay.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The governor of South Carolina signed a bill last week that requires the Common Core to be replaced by the 2015-2016 school year.

Another Parent, I would somewhat agree. But if Common Core is amended, dropped, or changed, I see that as a backing off from the original roll-out.

Disgusted said...

Yes, swk, I'm sure you have been at this "game" for a long time, and your "hypothesis" may differ from medical professionals.

Get ready for teachers to head-out to Costco and buy a great big container of red licorice vines to reward 5 and 6 year old children for being "good" and taking those ridiculous tests and they are thriving. Motivate- you know.

I will also add that at least one teacher has fold her 3rd grade students that he/she will be fired if child doesn't perform well on MAP and I predict we'll see an increase in the amount of stress placed on both students and teachers.

Maybe 3 states have "dropped" Common Core, but more students will "drop" out of school.

You really shouldn't suggest my children have vomited- it reflects poorly on you. Besides, I don't have my children take those ridiculous tests.

Another Parent said...

I can’t find anywhere on the Common Core site anything at all about testing. I’m guessing the basic idea that kids in a given grade are taught the same “core” set of topics, independent of where they live, makes sense to most parents. Let’s not forget that, “Decisions on how to implement the standards are made at the state and local levels.” For example, Seattle still had the option of choosing from a variety of top math programs that aligned with the Common Core.

Standardized testing is a different issue and not required by the Common Core. But even the idea that kids are periodically tested on what they've learned is something most of us grew up with. As a society, don’t we want to know if a school or teacher appears to be failing so that someone can figure out if in fact there is a problem, and if so intervene to fix it?

The standards, the aligned teaching materials, the aligned tests, implementation in the classroom, and policy decisions about when to give tests and how to use the results, are each separate issues. The policy decisions around testing seem to be the most contentious, but they largely existed before the Common Core. Confusing testing policy with the standards won't lead to the right solutions.

Meanwhile in Louisiana, regardless of what the governor does, over time, new books will be purchased, new teachers will be trained, and college bound juniors will take the ACT and the SAT. And they will all be heavily influenced by the Common Core. I agree, the original roll out has changed, but that's to be expected, and it doesn't change the overriding vision.

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Anonymous said...

Disgusted, sorry you thought I was suggesting that your children threw up during the tests. My statement was rhetorical. But, I imagine that's not the only thing you believe I've said that reflects poorly on me. C'est la vie.

And let's get some other things straight: (1) Who are these 5-8 year olds, especially 5 and 6 year olds, that will be taking tests? Our state currently tests students in grades 3-8 and high school. The Smarter Balanced tests will be for the same grades. Unless you're referring to some 5 and 6 years who have been advanced to 3rd grade or higher, I don't know who you're talking about.

Also, there is no evidence that standardized statewide testing has increased the state dropout rate. Students drop out of high school for a multitude of reasons and there is no evidence at all that the state tests are a major contributor.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Standardized testing is a different issue and not required by the Common Core."

What an interesting way to phrase that. No, CC doesn't "require" testing but all the states (except those not using CC) are part of one of two groups creating assessments based on the CC. Those two things - CCSS and their assessments - will bookend the learning.

If you think a standardized test is the best way to find out if a child's in trouble with learning, you are waiting way too long. Teachers do in-class assessments all the time and frankly, I'd believe those a lot more than one single test.

As for who is tested? Well, in Seattle we already test our 5-8 year olds on MAP (all the better to get them ready for CC). So let's not kid ourselves that we're not prepping that age group for testing.

Here's the thing about some of the comments - they suppose that one person or another is an expert and we know no such thing.

Everybody's done their research and can put up what they've found. No one here is THE expert.

Anonymous said...

To be more accurate then, let's be more specific about what is going on with Common Core.

From the US Department of Education website:

"The federal government has supported this state-led effort, in part, through ESEA Flexibility [NCLB waivers], which is helping to ensure that higher standards are being implemented for all students and that educators are being supported in transitioning to new standards. ESEA flexibility has enabled states to replace overly prescriptive and burdensome, "one-size-fits-all" aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) with state-developed accountability systems. All states approved for ESEA flexibility have engaged in one of the following endeavors to raise expectations for students' academic performance:

Upgraded their existing standards to make them more rigorous by working with their four-year public universities to certify that mastery of standards ensures that students will not need to take remedial coursework upon admission to a postsecondary institution in the system; or
Adopted and implemented common standards developed by a consortium of states that build toward college and career readiness.
Additionally, federal policies have encouraged states to adopt high-quality assessments aligned with new, higher standards.

To support this effort, the U.S. Department of Education has provided more than $350 million to two consortia of states to develop high-quality assessments that are benchmarked to new standards. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia are preparing to implement those assessments in the coming school year.

As states are taking the lead in developing college- and career-ready standards and assessments, federal policy also has encouraged states to use measurable indicators of student learning and growth to inform educator professional development and evaluation. For example, under ESEA flexibility [NCLB waivers], states are developing systems that will evaluate principals and teachers based in part on student growth on test scores, along with measures that may include observation, peer review, feedback from parents and students, and classroom work."

So in order to get out from the penalties of not being able to have all students at grade level by this year, due to Congress neglecting to revise the ESEA the Federal Department of Ed decided to try to coerce certain changes in state education management and policies -- and succeeded.

That the states went with Common Core was due to heavier scores on Race to the Top grant applications, in the middle of a massive recession where state tax coffers were hugely diminished.

What will happen to states that don't go along with these "voluntary" endeavors? Will they lose or have to repay their RTTT grants? Lose their NCLB waivers?

Ann D

Anonymous said...

Ann D, I will make an attempt to answer your questions:

(1) RTTT winning states may lose part of their RTTT grants if they do not follow through with what they committed to. For example, New York is currently in jeopardy of losing part of their RTTT grant for not following through on their commitment to tie test scores to teacher evaluation. I doubt states will have to pay back any grant money but they may not receive portions of their allocations. FYI - No state that has been awarded a RTTT grant has dropped Common Core.

(2) States can certainly lose their waiver if they drop Common Core (assuming they committed in their waiver application to adopting and implementing the Common Core) without replacing them with another set of college and career ready standards. To be more specific (as you put it), the Common Core State Standards per se are not required to be adopted in order to receive an NCLB waiver. Two states (off the top of my head) have waivers but have not adopted the CCSS --- Texas and Alaska. They did, however, adopt a set of college and career standards approved by their state's colleges and universities as conferring college readiness.

--- swk

Po3 said...

Common core is dead for a couple of reasons. As more and more states realize how much it costs, the testing involved and the work involves to implement they will opt out. As more states begin to opt opt, more states will opt out. (Domino effect.)

Obama does not enough time in office to "solidify" common core, especially with the opt out craze starting.

New admin will bag Common Core and probably RTTT and a new shiney toy will be placed the storefront for every district to purchase.

Reality Check said...

Yesterday I had the opportunity to chaperone a middle school field trip. I had the opportunity to talk with a math teacher that will be retiring early. Here is what the veteran teacher said to me: " I went into teaching 31 years ago. It wasn't a highly respected profession, and the loss of respect has only worsened.". In essence, this individual was throwing in the towel- early.

I learned that our middle school has 46 homeless students. The school had a "mattress" appeal to the community because we have students living in tents. One family was sleeping on crates, to stay off of the ground.

I expressed concern that too many students were forced to learn abstract math concepts before their brains were ready. It is important to realize that there can be as much as a year difference in a particular class...depending where a child birthday falls. the math teacher agreed.

I express concerned that Common Core standards will lead to higher rates of drop=outs. The math teacher agreed.

The below article rings true.

In the meantime, shall we thank LEV for carrying out Gate's agenda and for drowning out the voices of teachers and parents- with their "research", of course.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it's your conjecture, Po3, that CC is dead. Thanks for clarifying.

--- swk

Gads said...

Will someone give swk a valium- please?(!!)

#Enough said...

My high school student recently informed me that her teacher provided a final exam that was not aligned to the curriculum.

I checked with the teacher on this issue. The teacher informed me that the state/district is piloting a new test and the teacher wanted to see the test and provide feedback. I was informed that 1/3rd of the questions were thrown-out.

What is my child's real abilities regarding this class? Who the heck knows.

I'm tired of my children being used as guinea pigs.

Annoyed said...

I don't think SWK has any children.

#BS said...

I will add, the teacher will use this test for extra credit. Nice. My child is stressed with multiple high level tests and is being used to "test a test".

SWK only thinks she knows everything. I suspect for her position--this makes her very dangerous. I say- BS to her.

Melissa Westbrook said...

People are entitled to their opinions. I think we all might disagree, as we view the coverage of CC, what direction it is headed. I'll put up a few more stories and you tell me.

We sometimes get insiders here and sometimes they stick around.

Anonymous said...


--- swk

Anonymous said...

However much we doubt it, the Republicans are bound to win back the presidency sooner than we think. And who among CC supporters will like the winner's choice for Secretary of Ed and the orgasmic reaction the markets will have to a Republican's hand on the til that Arne Duncan'is is currently on?

Many conservative-led states are objecting to Obama's presiding over CC via Duncan, mostly as a bulwark against Federal control over what goes into their kids heads, the two worst of which are socialist and secularist ideas.

Ironically, as a two-time Obama voter, I am more fearful of the damage he and Duncan are inflicting on public ed than what Republicans can do, given that they come right out and tell us they want religion in schools and market-driven policies. Democrats, like DFER, lie through their teeth, pander to disadvantaged groups, and pretend to care for people as they fleece the flocks accumulating power and profit for their ironic and cynical "non-profits."

The devil I thought I knew has been completely trumped by the one I didn't, and the deception goes on. If anyone thinks CCSS is about anything besides money and power, they need to go back to school and study history & economics.

What does Wall Street salivate in unison when they hear the phrase "take it to scale" as Dopey Duncan says over and over? Answer: Markets, people. Markets.


Anonymous said...

The worst of which - TO THEM, I should say - are secularist and socialist ideas.


Anonymous said...

Now why does it do that? WSDWG

Disgusted said...

I think this is a great conversation for another blog. Unfortunately this particular entity likes to control the message. I mean..."moderate".

Melissa Westbrook said...

Disgusted, so why are you here?

Does LEV allow free expression? Nope. Do we allow almost any thing to be said? Yup. Do CHarlie and I stand our ground?

What is that about heat and the kitchen?

n said...

I think this is all much more complicated than will be resolved by any one post or poster but I do appreciate the specificity of swk's responses.

However, I also think the CC is bound to change significantly. I agree that it is far from developmentally appropriate for primary kids. I don't mind the standards as a guide but I do definitely think that any sort of mastery at K-1 or even two is unrealistic and we shouldn't even test for mastery at those levels. To think that any teacher should be evaluated on those standards for early learners is just plain ignorant.

To JS: I totally agree about primary and maybe all elementary teachers and math. I love math but I have a lot to learn as well. I take it on with gusto. Most teachers do not. Even my interns in primary come to me admitting they didn't really do well in math. We need to be much more rigorous amd demanding about who we allow into schools of education. Finland has a very rigorous entrance procedure and they take only the very best.

Disgusted said...

I'm afraid you misunderstood. I was referring to LEV's blog.

Anonymous said...

n, as I have stated previously, the state has no plan to assess K-2 students using the Smarter Balanced (CC) tests. Smarter Balanced hasn't even developed tests for K-2. There are only tests for grades 3-8 and 11.

If Seattle plans to test K-2 students using MAP and/or another standardized test against the CC, that is the district's policy and is not required by the state nor even the feds.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

swk: given the problems inherent in trying to test small children (and the foolishness of wasting their (the kids') time doing so), that is one point for the Smarter Balance tests.

We should have gotten rid of MAP for K-2 when we got rid of it for high school. Leaving aside my opinion that we should get rid of it altogether, maybe the next whack at the MAP apple ought to be getting rid of the K-2 component. At least then we will only be burdening the 3rd through 8th grade kids -- so we will have cut the damage (and the cost) in half. The fact that we don't drop it for K-2 has far more to do with the ed reform notion that we need it there to evaluate and fire teachers than it does with any notion that teachers need the test to evaluate kids.