State offers education leaders for Common Core assistance

The state plans to double its ranks of educator leaders to help colleagues prepare for the national academic standards called Common Core, state Superintendent of Education John White said Wednesday.

The aid and other steps come amid criticism that the state Department of Education is not doing enough to assist local districts preparing for the standards, which take full effect for the 2014-15 school year.

White said the additional training and other help builds on state aid that began two years ago.

Common Core is a set of standards in reading, writing and math.

Louisiana is one of 45 states that have adopted the classroom goals.

However, whether to revamp or scrap the standards is expected to spark controversy during the 2014 legislative session, which begins on Monday.

The state has already trained about 2,000 teachers and other educators in every school district to assist colleagues during the move to Common Core.

White said another 2,000 will undergo more than 15 days in-person training.

“If every single teacher leader trains just five other teachers on the training they receive, 20,000 teachers will be trained on this year’s model,” he told reporters.

Online training also will be available for all teachers.

White said his agency will make available for local school districts math and other curricula that state officials believe are best suited to help students meet the national standards.

He said the Eureka Math curriculum for students in kindergarten through 12th grade was developed at LSU and is the best-developed of its kind in the nation.

Others will be rated on whether they are fully, mostly or somewhat aligned with the standards.

The department also is providing guidebooks for every grade, including one that provides a year of unit plans in English.

Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, said in a prepared statement that his group is pleased that the department has listened to the concerns of the LSBA and others.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Richard said.