Letter: La. standards have been ‘house of horrors’

I found the theme of Quin Hillyer’s recent commentary titled “Throw Common Core out the Door” disturbing by perpetuating an ignorance of facts. This was most evident when he stated “the Bayou State should produce its own indices of school success.”

Where has he been living for the last 25 years? It must not have been in Louisiana. Does the word LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) ring a bell? That was a state-designed paradigm of standards, and assessments exactly like what he is advocating, as an alternative to the Common Core Standards. LEAP came to life in legislation in 1989 touting all the same themes Quin seems to believe, namely, that Louisiana knows best how to educate its youth and has the skills to do just that. LEAP was a perfect example of, to use Quin’s term, “a house of horrors.”

Well sir, after millions of taxpayers’ monies spent, 20 or more years of holding thousands of students back at the fourth grade and eighth grade, and denying thousands more graduation from high school until they mastered the LEAP standards, Louisiana’s fourth- and eighth-graders are still either 48th or dead last in their reading and math skills on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress assessment of the 50 states.

This empirical data clearly indicates that Louisiana doesn’t have the educational leadership to do what Mr. Quin advocates, and they best stick with the Common Core Standards and use them as guides for local school districts to develop curriculums.

Quin also, like so many others ranting about Common Core, doesn’t understand the difference between a curriculum and a standard. Louisiana educators are totally responsible for deciding how the standards will be taught. If parents don’t like the methods utilized to teach the students, or find them confusing, that is the fault of the “experts” in Louisiana, not the standards themselves.

Jim Anderson

retired schools administrator

Ponchatoula