Tag Archives: PARCC

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.

 

 

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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.

Common Core PARCC CEO Acknowledges Tests Will Drive Curriculum


By Danette Clark

The following snippits come from Susan Berry at Breitbart.com.

“The federally funded Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), issued a statement Friday confirming that the Common Core standards and their associated tests are intended to drive curriculum.”

“Chief executive officer of PARCC Laura Slover, said in the release, “High  quality assessments go hand-in-hand with high quality instruction based on high quality standards. You cannot have one without the other. The PARCC states see quality assessments as a part of instruction, not a break from instruction.””

“Slover’s statement was part of an announcement indicating that the states belonging to the PARCC consortium will reduce the number of passages and items in the English Language Arts/Literary End-of-Year test. PARCC said reducing the number of items included to measure some standards “reduces the amount of time spent on testing and lowers testing costs, while maintaining the quality of the assessments and their ability to inform instruction and to provide reliable information on the performance of all students.

In response to PARCC’s press release, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) website published the following statement:

The proponents of Common Core and PARCC continue to insist that tests and standards are not about curriculum, but that’s a ruse. Teachers already know that what is tested at the end of the year is what is taught in classrooms throughout the year. PARCC may not mandate one textbook or one pacing guide, but the CEO of the federally funded PARCC has admitted one thing: PARCC controls instruction and instruction is curriculum.

Jindal’s executive order suspending his state’s contracts with PARCC was blocked last week by a district judge.

“Common Core supporters know that standards drive curriculum. It’s the first thing you learn as a teacher. Take the standard. Break it apart. Teach to it,” Jindal’s chief of staff Kyle Plotkin told Breitbart News in an email statement. “Common Core supporters should step up and admit they are trying to drive curriculum. The argument about standards is a smokescreen. It’s about driving curriculum.”

Read the full article here.

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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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal Moves to Remove State from Common Core Standards


By Danette Clark

Yes! I’m late to the party as usual (darn day job), but great news late is still great news.

From Breitbart.com:

“In a press conference on Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced actions to remove his state from the Common Core standards and the aligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments.

Much of Jindal’s focus during the press conference was on the legality of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (BESE) decision to adopt the PARCC tests without first placing the state test out for bids. He said he wanted Louisiana to develop its own standards and, by law, to look at other options for tests.

“PARCC does not allow a competitive bidding process which is required under Louisiana law,” the Governor said. “BESE didn’t follow the rules.”

In a letter to PARCC officials the Governor asked the organization to immediately withdraw his state from the test consortium. Jindal also issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) to begin a competitive bidding process to purchase a new assessment and called on the DOE and BESE to develop Louisiana standards that can be approved by the state legislature in the next session.

The Governor said the state is no longer committed to implement the PARCC assessment in the coming school year and rendered the state unable to comply with the terms of the June 2010 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Louisiana and PARCC due to its failure to allow for a competitive bidding process.

“It’s time for PARCC to withdraw from Louisiana,” Jindal said. “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,” Jindal continued. “It was rushed in the beginning and done without public input.”

A summary of the action taken by the Governor is as follows:

1. Issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to conduct a competitive process to purchase a new assessment and which prohibits the expenditure of funds on cooperative group purchasing organizations and interstate agreements;

2. Suspended the rules adopted by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from May 2014 to ensure that the Louisiana Department of Education is able to comply with Louisiana competitive bid law;

3. Instructed the Division of Administration to conduct a comprehensive accounting of all Louisiana expenditures and resources on PARCC, what services or products have been received in return for such expenditures, and copies of all contracts in place or in negotiation for the purchase of an assessment;

4. Issued a Request for Information to PARCC requesting information about the procurement processes utilized by the consortium, by the Fiscal Agent state, and by the Lead Procurement State to ensure that these processes complied with Louisiana law;

5. Notified the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA) of Louisiana’s termination of participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

State Superintendent of Education John White and BESE president Chas Roemer, both of whom are ardent supporters of the nationalized standards, held a media briefing immediately after Jindal’s press conference in which they repeated the words of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who said Tuesday that Jindal’s turnabout on Common Core was motivated by “politics.”

Though White said during the media briefing that he would never tell school districts to “ignore” Gov. Jindal, a statement on the DOE website, dated Wednesday, contradicts the Governor’s announcement and indicates that both BESE and the DOE have reaffirmed that Louisiana “will implement the Common Core State Standards, as well as grade 3-8 test forms and questions developed by states within… PARCC for the 2014-2015 school year.”

“This is what the constitutionally elected bodies of our state agreed to,” White said during the press briefing. “The Governor’s announcement today comes at the bottom of the ninth inning.”

White and Roemer added that the laws of Louisiana are on their side.

In response to Gov. Jindal’s announcement, state Rep. Brett Geymann (R) told Breitbart News, “It is a day for all parents in Louisiana to celebrate. We are very pleased in the move by the Governor to remove us from PARCC and Common Core.”

“The Governor shares the same concerns that many of us have with the one-size-fits-all standards, the federal government’s overreach into our education decisions, and the lack of parental involvement in the process from the start,” Geymann added. “In addition, it’s significant we have not used the public bidding process to purchase our state test.”

Anna Arthurs, an organizer of a grassroots parents group that is opposed to Common Core, told Breitbart News that Jindal’s announcement is important for both Louisiana and the nation.

“Proponents of the Common Core initiative try to deny a federal overreach into education. However, this overreach is undeniable with PARCC (and SBAC) testing,” Arthurs said. “The federal government exclusively funds the test consortia. It provides curriculum frameworks to assist teachers in curriculum development. This is in direct violation of the General Education Provisions Act.”

“In the cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Education and PARCC member states, it mandates that the participating states ‘make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis,’” she added. “They have even developed an oversight committee which has a role in overseeing test question development.”

“Since teachers are forced to ‘teach to the test’ with high-stakes assessments, the federal government will have more control over the resulting curriculum than the local school districts,” Arthurs said. “Gov. Jindal is taking the lead in rejecting untested, unproven standards that have yet to live up to their claim as being ‘rigorous.’”

Grassroots organizer Sara Wood told Breitbart News that Jindal “acted on behalf of the parents to restore and protect a piece of our state sovereignty and individual freedoms as parents.”

In response to White and Roemer’s comment that in passing the controversial Common Core measure the state legislature was doing the will of the people, Wood said Jindal is “carrying out his executive obligation to support and uphold our Constitution because the legislature failed.”

“With all the pushback by parents and now action by governors nationwide, it is safe to say that Common Core was sold to state leaders as one thing in 2009 but ended up as something else in 2014,” she continued. “That violates the spirit of the Constitution and three federal laws.”

“The Common Core was sold as ‘just higher standards,’ but through the initiative that surrounds it, we are taking a great leap toward unprecedented federal intervention and eventual control of education, creating common mediocrity nationwide,” Wood said.

Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Massachusetts-based Pioneer Institute, said, “Gov. Jindal has come to realize what more and more governors and states are learning – Common Core and the national testing consortia are Obama administration initiatives with numerous federal bureaucratic strings attached.”

“If Common Core was genuinely ‘state-led’ and ‘voluntary,’ as its DC-based advocates like to claim, then why does the U.S. Secretary of Education immediately threaten or scold any state heading for the exit door?” Gass asked.”