In the 18th century, a philosopher wrote, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
With this wisdom in mind, Blueprint Louisiana applauds Superintendent of Education John White and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on their decision to provide more time for educators, parents, and students to learn and implement the new Common Core State Standards before accountability consequences are imposed.
Blueprint prioritizes issues around the central question, “What, if provided, can make a major difference in the lives of the citizens of our state?” In today’s world, high wages follow marketable skills, and long-term economic growth increasingly depends on a solid basis of education excellence. Common Core is a foundation for that excellence and, for many state and national business leaders, represents one of the “things that matter most.”
Fewer, clearer, and higher standards are a foundation for better-prepared and well-rounded students. Higher standards help prepare our children to compete on a level playing field with students from other states and nations. Fewer and clearer standards answer our teachers’ concern about the current inexhaustible list of standards ^_ of a curriculum that is a mile wide and an inch deep.
Certainly, Common Core is change, and change is hard. As a cardiologist, I see people struggle with change every day. Even after undergoing major cardiac bypass surgery, a large majority of people do not change their lifestyle. For this reason, the state of Louisiana is wise to avoid the temptation to do too much too fast. An open-ended timeline is unacceptable, but accountability can be designed to phase in over time.
Common Core provides a pathway to education excellence. Our public education leaders have listened to important feedback from teachers, parents, and students as they have toured the state. These transition policies send a clear message that our leaders are willing to take the time needed to implement these standards well. In this case, patience is a definite virtue.
Dr. Phillip Rozeman
chairman, Blueprint Louisiana