Letter: Common Core should proceed

In spring 1989, the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program was created to revolutionize the educational system in Louisiana which for years remained at the bottom of the list nationally in educational preparedness for the students it served. Classroom curricula were rewritten to address the standards incorporated as part of the LEAP paradigm. A series of high stakes tests was developed to assess the overall success of the program. These tests were given at the fourth and eighth grades, and children were held back if not performing at a specified level. Also, at the senior high level, students had to master the Graduation Exit Exam to receive a high school diploma.

Over the years, the Louisiana Department of Education issued media blitzes lauding the continuous improvement in LEAP test scores.

After years of holding students back and denying graduation to seniors, we find that in the latest measure of how states perform nationally in the areas of reading and math skills, Louisiana is still almost dead last.

The latest results showed out of the 50 states tested nationally that Louisiana was:

Tied for 50th in fourth-grade math.

48th in fourth-grade reading.

Tied for 48th in eighth-grade math.

Tied for 48th in eighth-grade reading.

After 24 years, this is what the public got from the various educational gurus that existed in this state, and now some are clamoring that we should abandon the recently state adopted Common Core Standards, because these are not “appropriate” for our students. From past performance, I doubt these folks’ expertise in determining what is “appropriate” for our students, or, for that matter, their ability to develop educational standards that should serve as a guide to educate our youth.

However, the Common Core Standards do provide such a guide and were created to be used in developing curriculum for students. The standards simply serve as benchmarks of what children are expected to know at specific times throughout the educational process.

Actuality, the Common Core Standards concept was originally proposed by state governors of BOTH political parties. They were developed by a collaboration of teachers, school administrators, and educational experts throughout the nation, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce, and to prevent what has happened in our state (educational fraud) by insuring that children get a good education no matter where they live.

They are NOT a curriculum, as some would have us believe. Curriculum development is still the responsibility of each local school system as was the case before the adoption of the core standards.

Louisiana needs to ignore the naysayers with little credibility and proceed with the Common Core adoption.

Jim Anderson

retired educator

Ponchatoula