When it comes to the controversial Common Core standards, we think the Legislature said a lot by what it did not do.
The question is whether Gov. Bobby Jindal is listening.
The 2014 session was, at times, nearly engulfed by delegations disputing or supporting Common Core, a state-led initiative to raise academic standards in public schools.
House and Senate education committees were filled with hours of testimony that revealed remarkably little about Common Core, except that it inspires suspicion about the intentions of the federal government in public education.
Suspicions turned out not to be the basis of policy: A slew of bills were filed to jettison the new Common Core standards, delay any tests based on the standards or otherwise make a political issue of it. None passed.
Only one measure made it through the legislative obstacle course, and that did not abandon the Common Core, but it did propose to delay any effect on schools’ letter grades under the new standards for three years. That’s one year longer than the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education had already agreed to.
What all this tells us is that Common Core is not the political lightning rod it is thought to be.
Now, with state government in the postgame interviews about the legislative session, Jindal may try to use his own authority to do what the Legislature refused to do.
The governor has said he may take unilateral action to shelve the assessments that go with Common Core, which are being developed by a consortium of states — not the U.S. government — called Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
Despite the governor’s support of various anti-Core and anti-PARCC bills, legislators haven’t been willing to scrap the new academic standards.
We urge him to contemplate the will of the Legislature, and follow it this time.
As Superintendent John White told a gathering of teachers in New Orleans on Tuesday, another governmental fight over the suspicions about Common Core is a recipe for confusion in schools.
Our state is in, after all, a multiyear initiative to raise the performance of public schools. Much has been invested in Common Core and the tests since BESE’s adoption of the plan in 2010, with Jindal’s support.
It makes no sense to throw the process into confusion because the governor can’t listen to what didn’t happen in the State Capitol this session.