West Feliciana Supt. ok with potential 'tweaks' to Common Core, not major overhaul

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With the new school year approaching, education leaders say they're running on schedule with making potential changes to the controversial Common Core standards. Governor Bobby Jindal vowed to get rid of it this past session of the Legislature, but ultimately a compromised emerged.

The leader of a top-rated school district, West Feliciana Supt. Hollis Milton, loves sharing his sense of humor.

He opened his speech Monday to the Baton Rouge Press Club at the Belle Baton Rouge by jokingly saying, "I came here today to announce the starting quarterback for the 2015 LSU Fighting Tigers."

Like a good joke, Milton also likes Common Core. That's where he butts heads with Gov. Jindal, the biggest name in the state opposed to the standards. However, this summer both men agree on one thing reached after rigorous discussion at the State Capitol, the so-called "Common Core Compromise."

Following this year's legislative session, Gov. Jindal said he's confident the compromise will lead to the removal of Common Core. But Milton, one of the key drafters, said he only expects tweaks to the standards and not radical changes.

"The standards stand for themselves. They have credibility. So I think when you put teachers and folks in a room to really dissect them and look at them, they're going to go, 'Hey, the standards aren't that bad,'" said Milton.

Milton is also the president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents. He said Common Core is doing wonderful things for his teachers and students in West Feliciana, but he added that the standards could have been implemented better. He said that's where school officials got it wrong.

"We didn't communicate the change enough. Not the what, but the why, why are we doing this," said Milton.

He said the purpose was to provide students critical thinking skills in order to succeed in an information-based economy.

As for this school year, Common Core remains in place. The only thing that will change immediately will be that no more than half of test questions can come from the PARCC exam.

A public forum on writing new standards will happen August 19 in Baton Rouge. Milton said he'll be there.

"My goal is just to make sure we have integrity in the process. As much as I like the Common Core standards, I'm okay if there's tweaks," said Milton.

The revised standards will go to Louisiana's new governor next year with the goal of having the new standards in place when school starts fall 2016.

A source close to Gov. Jindal did not reply to a request for an interview Monday.

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