Program criticized as a ‘federalized curriculum’
“I would like a response from the governor saying whether he is for or against Common Core in Louisiana.” state Rep. Cameron Henry, R-New Orleans
The state lawmaker who ignited controversy about new rigor in public school classrooms said Friday that Gov. Bobby Jindal should make clear whether he backs the nationwide standards, which are called Common Core.
“The governor has in some form or fashion given the impression that he might have an issue with a national curriculum,” state Rep. Cameron Henry, R-New Orleans, said in an interview.
“But he has not done anything to show anyone in Louisiana that he is doing anything to slow the implementation in Louisiana,” Henry added.
Henry sent a letter to the governor earlier this week saying that he plans to file legislation in 2014 that would remove the state from Common Core, which are academic goals students are supposed to achieve yearly in math, English and other subjects.
The legislator said the new benchmarks are intrusive, failed to undergo adequate public review and would replace parental oversight with bureaucratic dictates.
Jindal said on Monday that he shares Henry’s concerns and does not want the state saddled with a “federalized curriculum.”
“I would like a response from the governor saying whether he is for or against Common Core in Louisiana,” Henry said.
Asked if Jindal wanted to respond to Henry’s comments the governor issued a prepared statement Friday that says he backs rigor and high academic standards but is opposed to a national curriculum.
“We need Louisiana standards, not Washington, D.C., standards,” according to the statement.
Henry said his stance does not represent any bid to return state public school standards to outdated tests. He said he favors a more rigorous curriculum.
“Parents simply want oversight of how we achieve that goal,” he said.
Louisiana’s top school board endorsed Common Core in 2010 without controversy.
Public schools have been adjusting curriculum and tests since then, and the new academic goals take full effect in the 2014-15 school year.
A total of 45 states have endorsed the effort.
White, who is Jindal’s chief public schools lieutenant, has long touted the benefits of Common Core, which he reiterated in his letter to Henry.
He said the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education endorsed the overhaul three years ago “so that students in Louisiana could compete with students across the country in these fundamental skill areas.”
White also told Henry that officials “should assure families of our state that their voices and needs are heard and heeded.”
Henry said he should have gotten a response from Jindal.
“First off, I am disappointed that the governor did not respond to the letter,” he said. “Either he is not familiar enough with Common Core standards to comment on them, or he is just not concerned about them.”
Critics of Commmon Core plan to hold a rally on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Claiborne Building, which houses the state Department of Education.
Some of Jindal’s senior staff members were set to meet Friday with citizens concerned about the standards.