After a legislative session largely defined by feuding over Common Core education standards, the Louisiana legislature finally came together to pass a lone bill on the issue. Nobody but them seems happy about it, however.
HB953 softens accountability rules for the state’s schools and teachers for an additional year as it continues to transition to new Common Core standards in reading and math.
Instead of each school and district being graded absolutely on their standardized test performances, they will be graded on a curve, only evaluating their performance relative to each other. Such softening already occurred this year and was planned for next year; now, it will extend all the way through the 2015-16 school year.
The bill sailed through the House on a 70-17 vote Sunday after clearing the Senate 29-8 last week. It was the only notable Common Core bill to survive a contentious three-month legislative session that saw several fierce fights over the standards.
Bills to kill Common Core entirely, rewrite it, or eliminate the test paired with it all went nowhere after heated debate. Despite Gov. Bobby Jindal’s request that the legislature pull Louisiana out of multi-state PARCC standardized tests that are linked to the standards, the legislature ultimately refused to do so this past weekend.
Staunch Common Core opponents are demanding that Jindal veto the bill, warning that although it delays the full implementation of Common Core, it also entrenches the system to a greater degree and will make it tougher to eliminate in the future.
Supporters of Common Core, meanwhile, say yet another year of delay is unnecessary and merely holding up needed accountability for the state’s schools.
Victoria Sears, a research and policy associate at the pro-Common Core Fordham Institute, said that while a temporary pause in accountability may be warranted, piling on further delays was worrisome.
“You don’t want the temporary pause to turn into a permanent move away from reasonable and thoughtful accountability policies regarding student learning,” Sears told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Jindal has said he has “concerns” about the new bill, but has not said whether he plans to veto it.
Jindal, once a backer of Common Core, has recently ratcheted up his rhetoric against the standards, likening them to Soviet Russia’s failed model of top-down management. He drew huge applause at last week’s Republican Leadership Conference meeting in New Orleans when he bluntly stated his opposition.
Whether this new opposition will result in a veto of a bill both opponents and supporters of Common Core dislike is hard to say, however.
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