Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA) has proven himself to be an ambitious politician who is persistently faithful to a conservative political agenda at all costs, even to the tune of $25.2 million according to the Louisiana Department of Education.
Picture it: Wednesday, March 18th, 2015. The eyes of about 99% of Louisiana’s public school students are skimming white pages pages with black writing. Their brows slightly wrinkled as they navigate through the language of a new test, the first of its kind they’ve been told. In the weeks leading up to this moment, their teachers have made hundreds of copies of sample questions and writing prompts, emphasized test vocabulary and question comprehension, evidenced based selected response questions, and covered the walls of the class and the school with motivational quips: “Rock the Test!” “It’s a Walk In the PARCC” and “We Are PARCC Ready!” Now, after all the bells and whistles, rallies, and cheers have quieted down, these students are finally putting pencil to paper to test their understanding of the fully implemented Common Core standards on the infamous PARCC assessment while teachers and administrators pray that their students performance reflects the time and work they have invested in this venture.
Elsewhere, Gov. Jindal is unveiling his plan to rid Louisiana of the Common Core and the accompanying PARCC assessment that students and teachers have been brainwashed to accept. When Common Core finally trickled its way down the pipeline, teachers were told that Common Core was here to stay. In other words, protests are futile and this is the irrefutable future of education. Now, just one year after the full implementation of Common Core in all of its muddy glory, educators are now discovering that Common Core may not have a permanent place at the table of education. Its like a step parent that educators have begrudgingly accepted, only to find out that its not going to work out after all.
In the interim of deciding which course of action Louisiana will take to redevelop its educational assessment program, the state will return to the grade level expectations from in 2004-05, along with the LEAP and iLEAP assessments. Furthermore, to ensure that Louisiana is never plagued with another Common Core situation, Jindal proposed new restrictions to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (BESE) ability to enter contracts and other agreements with third parties. According to Jindal, his plan will help ensure that “Louisiana parents and teachers create Louisiana standards and curriculum.”
This “plan” as Jindal calls it, amounts to nothing more than dusting out an old play book from years past. The only difference now is that he plans to cut the referees out of the game to ensure that he can lead restructure Louisiana’s public education system without a sure strategy. Jindal’s rash decision to toss out the same Common Core standards that he fervently supported in 2012 is an obvious long shot ploy for the White House in 2016. Jindal began expressing doubts about the Common Core standards after an overwhelming tide of criticism of the standards flooded the educational conversation.
His former political ally, Superintendent John White, disagrees with Jindal’s plan. White proposes that the state should adjust the standards over time rather than scrapping them all together. One thing is for sure, amid the projected budget cuts to school districts and higher education in Louisiana, an additional $25.2 million price tag on a change of heart is one thing we can do without.