Tag Archives: Louisiana

Fail: Pro-Common Core group’s attempt to demean parents with stuffed unicorns backfires


UnicorncampaignGeymann'sdesk

From EAGnews.org:

An attempt to brand Common Core opponents as people too ignorant to know fantasy from reality has backfired.

The New Orleans-based Alliance for Better Classrooms PAC launched a marketing campaign last week with stuffed pink unicorns.

The unicorns, which were placed on the desks of Louisiana lawmakers, had tags that said, “Unicorns are not real. And neither are most of the things you’ve heard about Common Core.”

The tags also referenced a website titled Unicorns Are Not Real, which organization officials say was created to dispel Common Core “myths.”

According to The Advocate, state lawmakers were in their third day of a two-month session last Wednesday when most of their desks were dotted with the stuffed toys.

Dan Juneau, executive director of Alliance for Better Classrooms (ABC PAC), said this in a prepared statement regarding the campaign: “Such an important decision about children’s future shouldn’t be clouded with misconceptions and outright misleading statements.”

“We owe it to our kids to educate ourselves and realize exactly what Common Core State Standards do,” Juneau said.

The unicorn marketing ploy, however, has created quite a backlash, leaving some organizations and individuals trying to distance themselves not only from the ABC PAC, but from the entire Common Core debate.

When numerous Louisiana parents, educators, and other Common Core opponents took to their phones and emails to express their outrage to organizations and businesses listed as Common Core supporters at UnicornsAreNotReal.org, they found that several of them were not even aware that their names were being used.

For example, a Rapides Parish educator, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells EAGnews that she received an email from Deborah Randolph, president of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, stating that the Chamber did not give permission to ABC PAC or anyone else to use its name. In fact, she said the chamber had previously rescinded its support of the Common Core national standards initiative.

In another email, Chamber director Lindsey Marone also said that the Chamber takes a neutral stance on Common Core, adding that she has personally contacted the UnicornsAreNotReal website to to ask that the Chamber’s name be removed.

After learning that his name was also listed, Governor Mike Huckabee submitted the following statement on his Facebook page yesterday:

A pro-Common Core group is using my name without permission and attributing ideas to me that are wholly untrue. I have stated many times over that I oppose Common Core and anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or not telling the truth. I believe education is a family function, not a federal function – period.

Nothing is more emblematic of Washington arrogance and reckless central planning than Common Core. The federal government has stuck its obtrusive nose into local education and hijacked the system. We must kill Common Core and restore common sense.

In a statement to Breitbart.com, Louisiana State Rep. Brett Geymann had this to say:

I find it very offensive that the arrogance of the elitists has led to the mocking of parents in public.

To equate a mother who is fighting for her child to a person who believes in unicorns is unacceptable and pathetic.

They have crossed over the line of public debate and determined themselves to be part of the ruling class. We intend to stop them.

According to The Advocate, in 2011, ABC PAC leaders vowed to spend up to $1 million to elect BESE members sympathetic to their goals of increased school choice and sweeping changes in how public schools are funded.

ABC-backed candidates won in five of seven races.

The news source also reports that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s trust donated $100,000 to the group in 2011, sparking complaints by public school groups of outside interference in Louisiana contests.

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Louisiana Legislator Rallies Parents Against Common Core: ‘A Battle Worth Fighting’


LACommonCore

EAGnews.org exclusive:

“We are outgunned and outspent but we are not outworked,” writes a Louisiana state representative to fellow Common Core opponents.

In July of last year, Rep. Brett Geymann and 16 other Louisiana legislators filed a lawsuit against the state’s Board of Education seeking the immediate suspension of Common Core.

The lawsuit, which was later joined by Gov. Bobby Jindal and is still pending in district court, argues that local education leaders failed to follow the state’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA) for implementing the standards, thereby robbing the public of its chance to view and comment on the standards before they were adopted.

Earlier this month, Geymann took to his Facebook page to encourage parents and teachers looking to him to continue the fight. In his February 2nd post, titled “Common Core — A Battle Worth Fighting,” Geymann urged his Facebook friends to “keep the faith and keep the fight because the next generation depends on it.”

“I am so proud to watch and be a part of a movement from the people to take up the battle for their children and for the next generation,” writes Geymann. “It is disheartening to hear people in leadership… criticize and mock parents who are speaking out… What arrogance and disrespect for the very people who care the most about their children.”

“I often pray for wisdom and direction…,” he continues. “It seems hopeless at times but then 800 people fill an auditorium. It seems hopeless at times but then an election comes and nameplates change in the committee room and the boardroom. It seems hopeless at times but other states have done it and so can we.”

As recently reported, Gov. Jindal issued an executive order on January 30th protecting the right of parents to opt their children out of the upcoming Common Core linked PARCC tests and to protect schools from being penalized for any opt-outs.

The same day, Rep. Geymann urged parents to do just that, writing, “If you have a child in school that is scheduled to take the PARCC assessment, please consider opting out… It is time to give the education decisions of the children back to their parents and that can start by opting out of the PARCC assessment.”

While it’s not clear yet how large the opt-out movement in Louisiana will be, it is apparently large enough to be a cause of concern for many district leaders.

As recently reported by The Times Picayune, 14 of Louisiana’s school districts have already passed resolutions aimed at preventing schools from being penalized for students skipping the tests, while Terrebonne Parish is currently considering whether to ask the governor and state superintendent if the entire district can be removed from PARCC.

 

 

Gov. Jindal Issues Executive Order Protecting Parents’ Right to Opt Out of Common Core Testing


Bobby_Jindal

From EAGnews.org:

Amid reports from around the state of parents opting their children out of upcoming PARCC testing, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order Friday afternoon to protect students, teachers, and schools from the consequences of those opt-outs.

The executive order, which reiterates the standing rights of parents to opt their children out of such tests, calls on the state’s board of education to offer alternatives to the controversial PARCC testing.

The Common Core-linked Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests are slated to begin in March.

As reported by The Advertiser, “opting out by parents has the potential to hurt schools, districts and teachers in the state’s accountability system. Under the current accountability system, schools receive a zero for each student who doesn’t take the test.”

“Accountability scores are used to determine district and school performance scores as well as figuring into teacher evaluations,” the news source continues. “That can translate into monetary awards for both teachers and schools.”

However, Jindal’s executive order calls on BESE to, “as a viable and necessary action,” “grant districts the ability to offer nationally norm-referenced or other comparable assessment appropriate for Louisiana as an alternative to the PARCC test, including abbreviated versions for the purpose of benchmarking, rather than penalizing students, teachers and schools and jeopardizing our statewide accountability system.”

The order continues:

WHEREAS, nationally norm-referenced or other comparable assessments utilized by other states, and compliant with La. R.S. 17:24.4, are readily available in the marketplace and offer complete and abbreviated versions for the purpose of benchmarking, either of which can easily be administered as alternatives to the PARCC test;

WHEREAS, it is inherent upon BESE, pursuant to the clear statutory findings of law provided by the legislature, to avert the growing disruption to this year’s assessments by offering alternative means of testing readily available in the marketplace and currently utilized by other states, in order to avoid the negative impacts to student achievement, the teacher evaluation system, and the school and district accountability system.

KATC reports in Louisiana’s Lafayette Parish, kindergarten teacher Erin May is currently the only parent to opt her children out of the testing, but “numerous other parents have voiced concerns over the testing, which is linked to the Common Core curriculum.”

Those concerns have prompted Lafayette area parents to organize a meeting to take place Tuesday night so that “parents, school board members and other education stakeholders can discuss the issue.”

According to KNOE Channel 8, several parents in Ouachita Parish alone have already called their school principals to inform them that their children will not be taking the exam.

The news site also states that when they asked parents on Facebook if they would opt their children out of PARCC tests, “an overwhelming majority… said yes.”

Last summer, Jindal changed course on Common Core and PARCC, boldly announcing that what “began as an effort to simply raise standards for students… has morphed into a scheme to drive education curriculum from Washington, D.C.”

Jindal added, “Congress drew a bright red line that can’t be crossed and it clearly bars the federal government from ‘directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum programs of instructional material.’”

“Implementing PARCC in Louisiana crosses the line because what’s tested is what’s taught,” said the governor.

Jindal attempted to suspend PARCC testing in June of last year by way of executive order, asserting that PARCC did not allow a competitive bidding process, as required by Louisiana state law.

In response, the state’s BESE board joined in a lawsuit against Jindal that was filed by Black Alliance for Education Options. As a result, district Judge Todd Hernandez blocked Jindal’s executive order.

A recent Washington Examiner report says that Common Core will be the defining issue for GOP presidential contenders this year.

The Examiner’s Hugh Hewitt says he interviewed Jindal and several other potential candidates recently and reports that both Rick Perry and Marco Rubio also reject Common Core while Jeb Bush remains supportive of the initiative.

Specifically, Hewitt writes:

Bush is quick to defend the original theory and its necessity… vigorously rejecting the idea that Common Core meant in practice a national one-size-fits-all curriculum.

“Standards are different from curriculum,” he told me, “and that’s where I think the biggest misnomer [occurs and] where people legitimately get concerned.”

“I would be concerned if we had a national curriculum influenced by the federal government,” Bush added. “My God, I’d break out in a rash.”

In 2013, then Governor Rick Perry signed legislation effectively banning the Common Core State Standards from the state of Texas.

Louisiana Politician Slams Common Core, Prefers ‘Parental Involvement and Less Government Intrusion’


My EAGnews.org exclusive:

State Senator Elbert Guillory is being referred to as a breath of fresh air for Louisiana, and his position on Common Core is just one reason why.

Several months ago, before Governor Jindal began to openly oppose Common Core, Senator Guillory, representing Louisiana District 24, released a short video explaining why he opposes the Common Core State Standards initiative.

Not only did Guillory hit the nail on the head with regard to Common Core, he also gave Louisianians an exhilarating and much needed reminder of what a people-serving politician should look like.

In the video, Guillory refers to Common Core as “minimal education standards not high enough to prepare Louisiana students for the intellectual, professional, and leadership demands of the modern world.”

Guillory goes on to say that “the most important elements in a child’s education are parental involvement and less government intrusion.”

According to the Senator, because his office was “bombarded” for several months with complaints about Common Core, they decided to participate in a poll, the result of which showed that, in his district, almost 70% of citizens oppose Common Core but would support Louisiana standards.

Senator Guillory then says something rarely heard from the mouths of politicians today: “It is my duty to listen and my obligation to respond to the concerns of the citizens I represent.”

Guillory, who took office as a Democrat in 2009, left the party last year to become the first black Republican senator in the State of Louisiana since Reconstruction.

Referring to himself as a “Frederick Douglass Republican,” Guillory says Democrats have “created the illusion that their agenda and their policies are what’s best for black people.”

In a video explaining why he decided to switch parties, Guillory reminds us that it was the Republican Party that was founded as an abolitionist movement to eradicate slavery while the Democrats were the “party of Jim Crow,” defending the rights of slave owners.

Guillory was recently selected to serve as honorary chair of the Free at Last PAC, an organization formed to support the efforts of Black Republicans who run for federal office and to educate the black community “about the values of the Republican Party.”

With regard to Common Core, Senator Guillory, who intends to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2015, recommends transferring the research and energy invested into the initiative to “create a higher education initiative that is Louisiana based, Louisiana deployed, and Louisiana controlled.”

Governor Bobby Jindal is currently being sued by the Louisiana BESE board over his attempts to rid the state of Common Core.

 

Opportunity for Louisianians to Add Name to Lawsuit Aimed at Stopping Common Core


By Danette Clark

If you’re a Louisiana resident, please consider attaching your name to the lawsuit already filed by 17 Louisiana legislators to STOP the implementation of Common Core. There is no cost associated and doing so will add much needed weight to our battle against this federal initiative. The more names/support, the better the chance we have of receiving a favorable ruling.

The lawsuit asserts that BESE and the state education department did not follow the law in implementing Common Core, specifically, by denying the public an opportunity to be a part of the process/decision.

“We are hopeful the court will rule Common Core invalid and we can move forward with developing our own standards with local control,” says Rep. Brett Geymann, one of the lawmakers who filed the suit.

This suit is an opportunity to send a very clear message to our education leaders. Also, as with most any legal matter, it’s an opportunity to strengthen and further solidify the law — in this case, to reaffirm our constitutional rights as voters and as parents.

Please read my post from yesterday about the lawsuit that BESE is joining against Governor Jindal to thwart his efforts to remove us from PARCC and Common Core.

If you’re in, email “Yes-I’m IN” with your name and address to Rep. Geymann at:  larep035@legis.la.gov or stopccslouisiana@gmail.com.

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BESE Board Inches Closer to Making Itself Irrelevent by Joining in Lawsuit Against Governor Jindal Over Common Core


BESE President Chas Roemer (Associated Press)

BESE President Chas Roemer (Associated Press)

By Danette Clark

In a special meeting on Tuesday morning, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 6 to 4 to sue Governor Bobby Jindal for attempting to remove the state from Common Core and PARCC testing.

BESE will join a lawsuit against the Governor filed last week by seven parents, two teachers, and a New Orleans charter group. The suit currently claims Jindal has overstepped his authority by going over BESE’s head.

Superintendent John White and several members of the BESE board, who support Common Core despite wide spread public opposition, have posed this same question in open meetings in recent weeks — who ultimately holds constitutional authority over state education matters, the Governor or the State Board of Education?

BESE President Chas Roemer says the board is “trying to retain their constitutional authority over education”.

As a Louisiana resident and one of many parents fed up with being either completely ignored or ridiculed by the powers-that-be because we oppose Common Core, I would like to comment and ask this constitutional question of BESE — who the hell do you think you are? And I mean that quite literally. Who are you?

Your very existence was made necessary by the United States Constitution and is defined by the Louisiana State Constitution as a body created to develop, implement, and maintain (in accordance with Louisiana law) educational policy at the local level.

Your reason for being is to manage and maintain education within the state so that the constitutional and God-given rights of Louisiana parents to have a say in their children’s educational future is preserved and protected.

As shown again and again, from state to state to state, the Common Core State Standards Initiative — by definition as a national standard and living document (to be revised), with NCLB waivers attached, and contracted by an MOU that recklessly and boldly acknowledges the federal government’s intent to change education laws as it sees fit — is a gross federal intrusion into the educational lives of Louisiana children and the affairs of local government.

Therefore, BESE and Superintendent White, it seems you have failed miserably in your core constitutional duty to the people of Louisiana by willingly relinquishing your authority to the federal government and outside interests.

To the few BESE members siding with the people — Walter Lee, Lottie Beebe, Carolyn Hill, and Jane Smith — thank you for your brave efforts. They will not be forgotten.

As I stated here and will reiterate (and ask others opposed to this vicious initiative to please do the same), there are thousands of us in Louisiana who have done our homework and remain dedicated to winning this crucial battle for our children. We know the responsibilities and duties of our local officials to the people of this state, and we fully intend to hold them accountable for failing in those duties and failing our children.

Perhaps its time for parents to consider joining in a lawsuit of their own.

Lawsuit Filed to Stop Common Core in Louisiana


Thank you to these Louisiana State Reps!

From KATC.com (in part):

“Seventeen state lawmakers asked a judge on Monday to end Louisiana’s use of the Common Core education standards in public schools, saying education leaders didn’t properly enact the multistate benchmarks.

Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, who opposes the standards, said the lawsuit was filed in Baton Rouge district court, seeking an immediate suspension of the standards in schools.

“Unless an injunction issues herein by the Court, needless time and resources will be expended in the teaching, testing, learning, and financing of Common Core, all to the detriment of the citizens of Louisiana,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE, and the state education department did not follow Louisiana’s Administrative Procedures Act for rolling out the new standards in classrooms.

The act requires public notice, a 90-day comment period and legislative oversight, provisions that have been followed prior to other changes that have been made to education standards in Louisiana, the legislators said.

Education board President Chas Roemer and Education Superintendent John White planned a conference call to address the claims.

Without following the Administrative Procedures Act, the lawsuit says citizens “were denied their procedural due process rights to have their comments and concerns heard” before adoption and use of the standards.

The lawsuit was filed by 13 Republicans, two Democrats and two legislators without party affiliation.

James Armes, Terry Brown, Henry Burns, Brett Geymann, Johnny Guinn, Lance Harris, Joe Harrison, Kenny Havard, Bob Hensgens, Cameron Henry, Paul Hollis, Barry Ivey, Sam Jones, Rogers Pope, Dee Richard, John Schroder, and Lanar Whitney are the lawmakers who signed the petition.”

Read full article here.