I am posting an article that gives the latest details on the ongoing debate between Superintendent White and Governor Jindal. We will continue to monitor the discussion and will provide you with information as soon as it is available regarding the testing and assessments that will be used for 2014-15. We also will have a very important Accountability Commission meeting this Monday July 21st at 1pm in the Thomas Jefferson Room at the LDOE. This meeting will include discussion of the Act 240 which will discuss the current teacher evaluation process and recommend any suggested changes. Please feel free to email me with any information that you think may need to be included in this discussion and I will post an update after the meeting on Monday!
BESE offers final Common Core compromise to Gov. Bobby Jindal
By Danielle Dreilinger, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
on July 16, 2014 at 1:20 PM
With the new school year four weeks away, the leaders of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education have made a final proposal to Gov. Bobby Jindal to resolve the impasse over Common Core tests. And their proposal essentially holds firm, maintaining the board's decision to use national test questions, instead of the "Louisiana test" Jindal has called for.
If Jindal does not agree, "We must urge the Department and our fellow Board members to resolve the impasse through other means," wrote President Chas Roemer, Vice President Jim Garvey and Secretary Holly Boffy in a letter released Wednesday (July 16).
The officials also maintain BESE's primacy in the testing debate, writing that the board is "the body charged with developing standards and implementing tests" in the state constitution.
Louisiana is slated to replace the LEAP and iLEAP mathematics and English tests for third- through eighth-graders with multi-state tests developed by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. But Jindal has unleashed the dogs on that test and the Common Core standards themselves, which radically change what children are supposed to learn each year in math and English. The governor says the standards and tests take away Louisiana's power to determine its own children's education. The debate has roiled nationally.
Read the proposed compromise.
During the last month, Administration Commissioner Kristy Nichols, a Jindal appointee, has cracked down on the state Education Department's test contracting procedures.
The three officials wrote they would be willing to issue a request for a new testing contract for the oncoming school year, which Jindal says is necessary. But they say Jindal would have to allow the board to set the terms of the request. As set out in the letter, the math and English questions "shall be identical to questions administered to at least four million American public school children," and "fully measure nationally recognized content standards."
Jindal would also have to assure BESE a contract would be signed in no more than 90 days. Nichols has frozen the state's current testing contract and has said all future bids will receive intense scrutiny. On Wednesday, her team released a preliminary report questioning the Education Department's handling of several contracts.
Garvey said the terms did not restrict the state to PARCC and its primary competitor, called Smarter Balanced. There are other test-development entities that would fit those terms, he said, and additional entities that are trying to expand, capitalizing on the fact that a number of states have dropped the two front-runner Common Core tests. For instance, "I know ACT is out there vigorously trying to sign up students for its new tests," he said.
Four million test-takers is the "minimum needed to give us a good comparison" of Louisiana students to the national norm, "which is one of the major goals of this whole enterprise," Garvey said. "We have groups around the state saying that students are doing OK (but) we don't have clarity on whether that's true."
The same officials and Louisiana Education Superintendent John White suggested a compromise last week. At that time, they said they could use PARCC questions for free and said they would mix them with LEAP and iLEAP questions -- but it remained unclear whether the mathematics and English tests might consist entirely of PARCC questions, making it the same disputed test under a different name. Jindal rejected it.
The board voted earlier this month to hire outside counsel to prepare for a potential lawsuit against the governor. Roemer and White are scheduled to meet with Jindal Thursday to see if they can come to an agreement outside of court.
Any action by BESE requires a full-board vote. As of early Tuesday afternoon, no such meeting had been planned, BESE spokesman Kevin Calbert said.