Common Core in limbo

Bourque: Acadia teachers will adapt, either way

Gov. Bobby Jindal has threatened to pull the plug on the Common Core academic standards if the Louisiana Legislature doesn’t choose to do so on its own.

The governor, once an advocate of Common Core, said he now is in favor of the state’s withdrawal from the group developing the Partnership of Readiness for College and Careers — or PARCC — assessment.

Locally, Superintendent John Bouque said he feels confident Acadia Parish teachers will adapt, either way.

“It’s been such a haphazard thing all along,” he said of the development of the Common Core standards program. “But it’s not Common Core, the PARCC assessment is the thing that concerns us a little bit because we haven’t seen it.”

While he generally agrees with the concept of Common Core, that or raising academic standards, Bourque said, “I think some of the elements (of the PARCC assessment) go beyond expectations.

“It’s really a bit much, especially in math,” the superintendent added.

On a practical level, there is some question as to whether Jindal can unilaterally tear Louisiana away from the PARCC consortium, in which 16 states plus Washington, D.C., participate.

State Superintendent of Education John White and Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) president Chas Roemer — both of whom avidly support the program — said their permission is also required to leave the consortium, and neither is willing to do so.

Those with conservative political leanings, believe the PARCC could cause Louisiana to lose control over its student data and risk children’s privacy, since it will likely be used by several states. 

White said that the state, by law, requires that students be tested and developing a Louisiana-specific test would be significantly more expensive than PARCC primarily because many states are splitting the cost and work to develop PARCC.

To date, the traditional legislative means of getting rid of Common Core have failed. But a small group of Louisiana lawmakers intend to pursue the issue until the Legislature adjourns in June.

So for now, it’s a waiting game for teachers in Acadia and across the state.

“Our teachers will adapt one way or the other, just how quickly we can adjust I don’t know,” Bourque said. “I guess where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Steve Bandy is the managing editor of The Crowley Post-Signal. He can be reached at steve.bandy@crowleytoday.com or 337-783-3450.

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