BATON ROUGE, Lou. (Mar. 11, 2015) – A bill introduced in the Louisiana Senate would withdraw the state from Common Core standards and restore local control, an important step toward nullifying nationalized education in the state.
Senate Bill 330 (SB330) was introduced on Mar. 4 by Sen. John Milkovich (D-38). The legislation would void Common Core standards and create a framework to establish state standards to replace them.
SB330 would return local control for educational standards in the state of Louisiana. It reads, in part:
The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school may adopt and implement the content standards and related assessments it determines best serves the educational needs of the students it serves…
A public school or school district that declines to implement the state content standards and assessments adopted by the state board shall not be subject to the requirements of the school and district accountability system, nor shall there be any negative consequences with respect to teacher evaluations or pupil progression plans..
In addition, SB330 contains a provision permitting local school districts to opt out of the Common Core educational standards and any state-based educational standards as well. It reads as follows:
The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the state Department of Education shall not require the governing authority of any public elementary and secondary school to implement the common core standards developed jointly by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, or any other content standards adopted by the state board, nor shall local schools and school districts be required to participate in the administration of any state tests or assessments.
While a powerful step toward permanently ending Common Core in Louisiana, the process it not without its potential pitfalls. As Shane Vander Hart at Truth in American Education said about a similar bill passed in Tennessee last year, many Common Core replacement bills end up being little more than “rebranded” versions of the same program. Even if the new state standards completely reject Common Core, it doesn’t mean the state won’t continue to allow the federal government to influence its education system. It will require public and legislative vigilance to completely push the feds out of education in Louisiana.
Common Core was intended to create nationwide education standards. While touted as a state initiative through the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the U.S. Department of Education was heavily involved behind the scenes. Up until recently, the DoE tied the grant of waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act to adoption of Common Core, using the standards as powerful strings to influence state educational policy. The Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress this month now prohibits the DoE from attempting to “influence, incentivize, or coerce State adoption of the Common Core State Standards … or any other academic standards common to a significant number of States.” But under the new federal law, states still must comply with College and Career Ready Standards, based on Common Core, as a condition for receiving some federal dollars. It also requires the federal education secretary to approve each state’s plans for standards and assessments.
Even with the federal strings partially cut from Common Core for the time being, it is still imperative for each state to adopt its own standards. The feds can once again use these national standards to meddle in state education at any time if they remain in place. Just as importantly, one-size-fits-all standard simply don’t benefit children. State and local governments should remain in full control of their own educational systems.
Rejecting nationalized education standards is the first step toward bringing true academic choice, and freedom. Passage of this legislation into law represents a positive step forward for the people of Louisiana and a path for other states to follow.
SB330 must pass the Senate Education Committee before the legislation can receive a vote in the full Senate.
If you live in Louisiana: click HERE and follow the instructions to help get SB330 passed.
If you live in another state: click HERE for information on Common Core initiatives in your state.