UPDATE: Dept. of Ed. issues statement, will continue implementation

The following is the statement issued by the state Department of Education:

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Department of Education today reaffirmed that the state will implement the Common Core State Standards, as well as grade 3-8 test forms and questions developed by states within the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) for the 2014-2015 school year. The Department will deliver and score the grade 3-8 tests using the state's currently active contract for grade 3-8 testing, awarded through the state procurement process.

In 2010, after a public review process, BESE adopted the Common Core State Standards as minimum expectations for reading, writing, and mathematics. The Governor, the BESE President, and the State Superintendent then signed a commitment to developing test forms and questions that would allow the state's performance to be measured in comparison with other states. Nearly 45,000 Louisiana students tried out the resulting PARCC forms and questions in March and April of 2014.

The plan to continue implementation fulfills BESE's legal role and obligations. Under the Louisiana State Constitution, BESE "shall supervise and control the public elementary and secondary schools and special schools under its jurisdiction and shall have budgetary responsibility for all funds appropriated or allocated by the state for those schools, all as provided by law."

State law requires that "[t]he state Department of Education shall, with the approval of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, as part of the Louisiana Competency-Based Education Program, develop and establish statewide content standards for required subjects to be taught in the public elementary and secondary schools of this state."

Regarding the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC tests, state law mandates that "[b]eginning with the 2014-2015 school year, standards-based assessments shall be based on nationally recognized content standards." State law also mandates that "[t]he rigor of each standard-based test, at a minimum, shall be comparable to national achievement tests" and "student achievement standards shall be set with reference to test scores of the same grade levels nationally." The plan reaffirmed by BESE and the Department today meets with these legal requirements.

"For years, the law has required that BESE measure literacy and math achievement," said BESE President Chas Roemer. "Four years ago, our board committed to measuring learning in comparison with states across the country, and two years ago the Legislature put this plan into the law. BESE is continuing to implement that law."

"State and federal law have long required that Louisiana measure literacy and math performance through standards and annual tests," said State Superintendent John White. "By using test forms and questions that make results comparable among states, we are following the Legislature's mandate that we not only measure but also compete."

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Jindal announces action to remove Common Core tests

The state may have not done anything about Common Core this Legislative session, but Gov. Bobby Jindal took executive actions Wednesday to do so.

The governor announced Thursday afternoon that he took action to remove the state from Common Core tests.

Jindal said the state should look at other options rather than using a consortium called the Partnership for Assesment of Readiness for College and Careers.

“We need to start the process over,” Jindal said.

Jindal's executive order is to prevent the state Department of Education from testing and prohibit the expenditure of funds for the testing.

He also said he opposes Common Core as a federal government policy rush implementation of a one size fits all.

“I have no interest in demonizing those who might disagree with me on this issue,” Jindal said. “We need Louisiana standards and Louisiana tests for Louisiana schools.”

State Superintendent of Education John White said prior to Jindal’s announcement on Common Core that the governor’s decision would spark legal questions. The Common Core program requires students in public schools to meet new standards in reading, writing and math.

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