Louisiana’s Common Core Compromise

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Louisiana's Common Core Compromise

By: Pat Austin

SHREVE­PORT – Louisiana may be mak­ing progress toward get­ting out of Com­mon Core, but it won’t be in time to fur­ther Gov. Bobby Jindal’s pres­i­den­tial aspirations.

Last week a series of bills dubbed the Com­mon Core Com­pro­mise began work­ing through the Louisiana leg­is­la­ture. State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Brett Gey­mann is the author of HB373 which lays the ground­work for new stan­dards by requir­ing the state edu­ca­tion board to draft new stan­dards that would replace Com­mon Core. There is no guar­an­tee that these new stan­dards would be adopted, how­ever, which is why Gov­er­nor Jindal’s office hasn’t endorsed the compromise:

The bill (HB 373), authored by state Rep. Brett Gey­mann, R-​Lake Charles, lays out a process for review­ing and pos­si­bly adopt­ing new aca­d­e­mic stan­dards. Under the leg­is­la­tion, Louisiana could replace Com­mon Core, but may also opt to keep the con­tro­ver­sial edu­ca­tional bench­marks. While the review takes place, Com­mon Core will con­tinue to be used. Under the cur­rent law, the BESE board is not bound by any review process and can thus cir­cum­vent the pub­lic input process; Geymann’s bill would change that.

Under Rep. Geymann’s pro­posed leg­is­la­tion, the state edu­ca­tion board would begin review­ing and draft­ing new stan­dards this sum­mer; the pub­lic would have a say on the stan­dards through a series of meet­ings and com­ment peri­ods through­out the state and by Feb­ru­ary 2016 the stan­dards would be posted on the BESE web­site and adopted in March 2016. There is no guar­an­tee that the new stan­dards won’t strongly resem­ble Com­mon Core, how­ever, which seems to be Jindal’s objec­tion. But, at the very least, the pub­lic would get to weigh in on the new stan­dards, a process not afforded to them under Com­mon Core. Sup­port­ers of the bill say that it is, at least, a path to scrap­ping Com­mon Core.

The new stan­dards, what­ever they may look like, would be adopted by a brand new BESE board which would be sworn in Jan­u­ary 2016; a clean slate all the way around as there will be a new Louisiana gov­er­nor by then as well. The new gov­er­nor could veto the new stan­dards which means Louisiana would still be under Com­mon Core.

Gov­er­nor Jindal’s deci­sion to with­hold sup­port of the bill is seen by some as polit­i­cal pos­tur­ing:

Also, if the Com­mon Core com­pro­mise was adopted, Jin­dal would essen­tially have no role in poten­tially get­ting rid of the stan­dards. Under the pro­posed plan, the oppor­tu­nity to drop Com­mon Core wouldn’t actu­ally come up until 2016 at the ear­li­est, after Jin­dal leaves office. Under the agree­ment reached, Com­mon Core would absolutely remain in place for the rest of Jindal’s tenure.

This gov­er­nor is not in the process [under the com­pro­mise plan],” said state Sen. Con­rad Appel, R-​Metairie, a Com­mon Core sup­porter who helped put together the agree­ment with Gey­mann and others.

Jindal’s office hasn’t cited this time­line as a part of their objec­tion to the plan, but it could make the Louisiana’s Com­mon Core fight a trick­ier talk­ing point for the gov­er­nor in places like Iowa and New Hamp­shire, where he will be cam­paign­ing if he runs for pres­i­dent. Jin­dal wouldn’t be able to say Louisiana had got­ten rid of Com­mon Core under his watch.

Bobby would like to be able to say ‘Yes. We ditched Com­mon Core,’” said Pear­son Cross, a polit­i­cal sci­en­tist based at the Uni­ver­sity of Louisiana –Lafayette, “This for­mat doesn’t pro­vide him with the kind of vic­tory lap he would prefer.”

Jin­dal spokesman Kyle Plotkin explains Jindal’s reluc­tance to endorse the deal:

First, we are con­cerned that the veto mech­a­nism in the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion could set up a process where the state reverts to Com­mon Core,” Plotkin said. “Sec­ondly, there is con­cern about the com­mis­sion set up by BESE to come up with new Louisiana stan­dards because some believe it is filled with Com­mon Core supporters.”

In the end, the best plan to get Louisiana out of Com­mon Core seems to be this Com­mon Core Com­pro­mise; Jindal’s own pro­posed Com­mon Core leg­is­la­tion has been dropped.

Jindal’s con­cerns that Louisiana may still be stuck with Com­mon Core, or Com­mon Core-​like stan­dards, may be entirely jus­ti­fied, but at least for the time being, this seems to be the only way out.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Louisiana may be making progress toward getting out of Common Core, but it won’t be in time to further Gov. Bobby Jindal’s presidential aspirations.

Last week a series of bills dubbed the Common Core Compromise began working through the Louisiana legislature.  State Representative Brett Geymann is the author of HB373 which lays the groundwork for new standards by requiring the state education board to draft new standards that would replace Common Core.  There is no guarantee that these new standards would be adopted, however, which is why Governor Jindal’s office hasn’t endorsed the compromise:

The bill (HB 373), authored by state Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, lays out a process for reviewing and possibly adopting new academic standards. Under the legislation, Louisiana could replace Common Core, but may also opt to keep the controversial educational benchmarks. While the review takes place, Common Core will continue to be used.  Under the current law, the BESE board is not bound by any review process and can thus circumvent the public input process; Geymann’s bill would change that.

Under Rep. Geymann’s proposed legislation, the state education board would begin reviewing and drafting new standards this summer; the public would have a say on the standards through a series of meetings and comment periods throughout the state and by February 2016 the standards would be posted on the BESE website and adopted in March 2016.  There is no guarantee that the new standards won’t strongly resemble Common Core, however, which seems to be Jindal’s objection.  But, at the very least, the public would get to weigh in on the new standards, a process not afforded to them under Common Core.  Supporters of the bill say that it is, at least, a path to scrapping Common Core.

The new standards, whatever they may look like, would be adopted by a brand new BESE board which would be sworn in January 2016; a clean slate all the way around as there will be a new Louisiana governor by then as well. The new governor could veto the new standards which means Louisiana would still be under Common Core.

Governor Jindal’s decision to withhold support of the bill is seen by some as political posturing:

Also, if the Common Core compromise was adopted, Jindal would essentially have no role in potentially getting rid of the standards. Under the proposed plan, the opportunity to drop Common Core wouldn’t actually come up until 2016 at the earliest, after Jindal leaves office. Under the agreement reached, Common Core would absolutely remain in place for the rest of Jindal’s tenure.

“This governor is not in the process [under the compromise plan],” said state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, a Common Core supporter who helped put together the agreement with Geymann and others.

Jindal’s office hasn’t cited this timeline as a part of their objection to the plan, but it could make the Louisiana’s Common Core fight a trickier talking point for the governor in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, where he will be campaigning if he runs for president. Jindal wouldn’t be able to say Louisiana had gotten rid of Common Core under his watch.

“Bobby would like to be able to say ‘Yes. We ditched Common Core,'” said Pearson Cross, a political scientist based at the University of Louisiana -Lafayette, “This format doesn’t provide him with the kind of victory lap he would prefer.”

Jindal spokesman Kyle Plotkin explains Jindal’s reluctance to endorse the deal:

“First, we are concerned that the veto mechanism in the proposed legislation could set up a process where the state reverts to Common Core,” Plotkin said. “Secondly, there is concern about the commission set up by BESE to come up with new Louisiana standards because some believe it is filled with Common Core supporters.”

In the end, the best plan to get Louisiana out of Common Core seems to be this Common Core Compromise; Jindal’s own proposed Common Core legislation has been dropped.

Jindal’s concerns that Louisiana may still be stuck with Common Core, or Common Core-like standards, may be entirely justified, but at least for the time being, this seems to be the only way out.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.