Common Core debate continues

Common Core debate continues
Published: Aug. 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2014 at 10:39 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's like Groundhog Day at the Department of Education. Dueling press conferences and dueling lawsuits means the debate over Common Core is far from over, despite calls from Superintendent of Education John White. Fresh off of a win in district court on Tuesday, White appeared defeated while speaking to the media Wednesday morning.

White spoke first, then the Governor's Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols took the microphone. White said Judge Todd Hernandez's ruling Tuesday was clear that the common core contracts already in place this school year are valid and that teachers should continue to use the guidance they received in January.

"I'm sitting here, and I'm a little sad and a little disappointed that we don't just take what the judge said to be what it is, and just move ahead and start talking about student learning," White said.

The decision clears the way for the Dept. of Education to get spring test questions ready for elementary and middle schoolers. The stakes are highest for fourth graders.

"We will determine what the questions on those tests are. All of them," White said. "Those test questions will be consistent with all those tests with what we have been telling teachers for years they will look like," he added.

But Nichols said her office still thinks the contracts used to develop those questions are flawed and will pose problems down the road.

"If the Department of Education plans to use, and feels they plan to use the two contracts in place for new Common Core testing for the next school year, our view is that there is a defect in the way that they structured the contracts," she said. "The reality is this is not a final judgement. We do have many options available to us through the judicial process, and we'll exercise those as we deem appropriate."

Jason France, an education blogger who opposes common core and has announced intentions to run for the Board of Education, says the Governor's lawyers dropped the ball in presenting their case, missing their shot at judicial intervention.

"If this was a boxing match, the Jindal administration would be the guy with his arms at his side getting pummeled by his opponent," he said.

France believes the best way to get Common Core out of Louisiana is to get the BESE members who support it out of office.

"I don't see there being some grand reversal, and I'm not sure...chaos is an excellent word to describe what's going on, I'm not sure you can fix this in the middle of the year at this point," he said.

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