As founder and director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, I recognize how important Common Core standards are to the future of Louisiana’s education system. Despite the benefits it promises to bring our great state, misinformation about Common Core is spreading like wildfire through erroneous “fact” sheets online and myths circulated on talk radio.
Against a backdrop of pundits and special interest groups who frequently — and often deliberately — misinform the public about what Common Core is and does, teachers across Louisiana are fighting for the standards because they know it is a major educational upgrade for our children.
These English and math standards provide academic guidelines on the knowledge and abilities students should have at each grade level; teachers then decide how best to implement those guidelines in their classrooms. A curriculum aligned with Common Core can and will look different from state to state — indeed, from school to school.
Louisiana voluntarily adopted these standards in 2010 to address the challenges our students face in an increasingly competitive global economy, while providing teachers a common assessment tool that was developed collaboratively by educators from across the nation.
Our school districts, teachers and students have been preparing for this transition for more than three years, with many teachers already implementing the standards in their classrooms. These teachers have already turned the corner in transforming public education in our state — making instructional decisions and empowering their students to succeed on more rigorous tests.
Where do we go from here?
It’s critically important that all of us — parents, educators, community leaders and businessmen — oppose efforts to derail the Common Core State Standards.
Good public education is the key to success for our children and we must help them get there by all means available. A quality education is one of childhood’s most basic civil rights. Our goal must be to get our children into the top tiers nationally. That means pushing aside anything or anyone standing in the way of their success.
Caroline Roemer Shirley
director, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools