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WWL>Topics>>7-21-14 2:10pm Angela: on common core

7-21-14 2:10pm Angela: on common core

Jul 21, 2014|

Angela talks with Gambit Weekly editor Clancy Dubos, Barry Erwin of the Council for a Better Louisiana, and Camille Conaway of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry about the issue of common core and why Gov. Jindal has suddenly become so opposed to it.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Who would've thought an educational plan would become so contentious. Governor Jindal and state superintendent of education John White who were once on the same side of common core are now on opposing sides. Jindal wants out of common core and its test white wants to move forward as planned since 2010. It's a mess and caught in the middle the students and teachers with the school year literally a month away. -- talk about what is happened since the legislative session. It's political analyst for channel four and editor of gambit newspaper Clancy do books. And by phone Barry Irwin president of the council for better Louisiana. And soon we will be joined by Camille Conway vice president of policy and research at -- Louisiana association. Of business and industry I'm so thrilled to -- are here. Talking about this. I honestly don't think there has been anything is maddening. As this particular subject in a long time it just. It just is aggravating that we can't get it right and now we're at this horrible in -- I want to know from from new -- How did we get to this place. Well we got here first of all. It common core I think it was is part of a larger. Accountability movement. That started in Louisiana well almost twenty years ago governor Mike Foster. A conservative Republican businessman. Was the governor who first brought us accountability in public education with a -- tests back in the nineties. And Leslie Jacobs who we know here in -- farewell was very involved in that. And Louisiana was at the forefront we were ahead of most states in instituting -- the notion of a high stakes test as part of student and teacher accountability in public education. And it was controversial then but nowhere near like this but. You know there -- people fighting the leap tests back dancing it was unfair saying lots of different things but. The governor pushed it -- he got behind it and put in place. And -- -- like -- -- not it's here to stay. And it got tweaked a little bit on the road but Louisiana got off. A lot of respect around the country for doing this I think we we were one of the leaders of not being a leader in the country in this method of accountability. And other states picked up something like that they did their own tests in their own accountability systems. And then somewhere along the line around 2010. The National Governors Association. Came up with the idea of having a standardized national test for accountability. And that evolved into common core. It was a there's a curriculum. And there's a test that goes with it which is called park PA RCC. I can remember exactly what it stands for itself and sometimes. Four readiness for colleges and career. And it's it's a test that's aligned to the common core curriculum. And somewhere I guess somewhere after Barack Obama got elected president. And he. Thought this was a good idea as well. The US Department of Education started. -- some of its grants to the states to. The common core standards. -- between. Obama buying into it. And the founding of it back in 2007 and and most if not all of the Republican governors were for common core in the early days. A common core curriculum and the park test would developed by educators. Maybe some business people some school board members principles -- -- in it was not just one person who did this. And they put it out there and had at one point we had 44 states plus the District of Columbia. Signed on to comment corps and part test. And for some reason you know Barack Obama is a figure -- -- -- tries to be but he can he's polarizing. People who don't love him or hate him. And the people who don't like him now see his Department of Education. Tying federal grants to. Common core and say oh he's federalizing common core. I don't think that's a legitimate argument but there are those who make that argument -- believe it. And then there are people who even without getting Obama involved and say. I don't like this idea of standardization. Nationalization. Of curriculum. And test. Well. The last time I checked. A CT test is a standardized test the SAT test is a standardized tests. Colleges all over America use one or both of those two standardized. National tests. When I was in grammar school we took to Iowa test of California achievement test those were national. Standardized. Tests. That I'm gonna be sixty or so later this year so. You know over fifty years ago we were taking these national standardized tests and they were comparing my grades on my scores two kids. In my school in my state and nationally via police you know get the percentile the local and the national percent tiles. This is not a new concept not a new concept and the law exam is national medical data to graduate entrance exam go to grad school. So the -- out the notion that. About national standardized test. It's not news now they're saying this is a national standardized curriculum and if you control the test you control the curriculum. That's true if the teachers only teach to the test. But if they teach because when I was in grammar school -- teach to the test they taught us. You know it and -- I went to Catholic schools about friends with the public schools or other private schools they just taught us English math reading writing. Spelling and -- all the stuff. And then you took the test. If teachers are teaching to the test the net and those teachers need to be held accountable but that's not the way to teach kids. So and I'm not an educator about the very involved in education that the board level and private side but. I think what we need to do is -- a step back and exhale and look at what we're trying to do here. I support covered -- I'm not gonna die in the barricade I don't think it's the be all and and all I think what I've learned in my dealings with education. Is that it's a process and it's like any like any company in the private sector. You can never rest on your laurels you always have to raise the bar. Because the world has always becoming more and more competitive. And if we think back to why common core originated it's because America's kids. Measured against kids from around the world and other countries were falling farther and farther behind. That is the case and somewhere in there it became so incredibly political and which are ringing up a about a mom is fine but as we look at the state. Our governor sort of picked superintendent might well absolutely and they were both on the -- I've gone -- court he was an ardent supporter legislature unanimously adopted common core. A ticket rather was in 2010 at 2012 might have been done in stages unanimously. With Bobby Jindal support. We're gonna have to take a break but that we're going to definitely get to and I appreciate your holding. Very Irwin with the council for better Louisiana and Camille -- -- vice president with the Louisiana association of business and industry were gonna get their take. Well what the heck is happening stay with -- I'm Angela on WW well. Well the clock is ticking and school is getting very close on their 700000. Students. In not Louisiana. Who and parents who are concerned about what is going to happen this school year with common core. Now we know what happened in the legislature we know in the most recent meeting between governor Jindal and on the superintendent of schools went nowhere. And up school is going to begin. I'm so grateful to have Clancy do posts and Barry Irwin president of the council for better Louisiana and Camille Conway vice president. -- lobby and very I'm gonna come to you. In your most recent column you really pulled no punches. The governor you say is using smoke and mirrors. To gain control over what you believe is not in his control. Which is education reform. Being under the authority real authority of best. Yes. That's that's what we dead -- and you know and economic I think it's true we've. We've been down a lot of different stages in this wrote in in you mentioned -- mean it started in 2010. -- our superintendents our governor -- governor -- all starters along this path. -- the legislature two years later in 2012. A firm that reaffirmed that within -- claimed he mentioned unanimous vote. This session I would say with all the anti common core bills that works introduce the fact that none of them pass. They reaffirmed that direction again and now that we been through this entire process for for lo these many years. It is fair eleventh hour where we're seeing administrative executive minister trying to undo what. The processes have put in motion. In in trying to into trajectory we've we've been on really. For four years and coming going into the the fifth and final year -- -- of the transition. To not forget never seen anything like this and whether you're for the common score against it and that's the testing or whatever. I think businesses and you have to kind of step back a little bit and so is -- the way our state government is supposed to be working. Two. Camille thank you very much for joining us. Your concerns. And while these concerns. Yet thank you again. Farmers are having on today. We arc and apparently. Where where you are in bad teachers and school leaders have. A lack of clarity on the issue on -- they should be teaching this year how they will be measured. I think one point that he -- to make it. That the critical piece about happening at how much of our I education on the built around. The outcome of the core test determined -- progression and but it also determined. Teachers and your status is determine the letter grade of a school it determined. Whether school -- eligible for takeover by the recovery school districts whether. How much harder life and held accountable. Whether it will call cipher for about chair and lightning. The attested that critically important and having some. Assurances that the test or measure. What that stated teaching which is a common course standards that it will be the packet. All year that that all student and -- are being brought to the common course standards and I've got bank the other news. Speakers -- getting it over of that in this that things are part of the curriculum. They are measurable benchmarks that we want students to reach every year and we need -- that accurately. Measure whether students are hitting their benchmarks and I would get that where -- lobby that we have been working for. A strong accountability -- are more than two decades now. And believe you because the number one and -- are lawyers and members tell -- in. The skilled workers that we've. That we eat and that will continue to be a priority. A lobby. They have one -- -- and I agree with everything -- said. Comment a common core curriculum. He's geared towards the ACT. So one of the things that. Puzzles me. When I hear educators say they don't wanna do the common core. And they don't want to do the park test which is also aligned with the -- CT test. That's the test that probably 90% or more of Louisiana's high school graduates have to use to get in the college. So if you don't want your curriculum aligned with the test that the kids have to take. Have to take to get into the college of their choice including. LSU. Which has raised its stand -- my sons and -- series on tops but he had to work really hard to get the score he needed to get tops. And if you don't if you want tickets go to college how can you be against common -- because it's all a line to -- What kids need to get into the college they wanna go to that back. Puzzles me you know -- I've received any number of non. Pieces of information from people who are against common core and down one from a particular teacher very thought out about it. But in essence. And in -- more complex -- this but there was an awful lot of I'll give a quote she said the secular moral relativism and anti faithful loss -- feet behind common core. Included many book titles with explicit sexually explicit materials that were offensive to most parents I'm bringing that up because. I think throughout this time. Those field that one it is government control federal government control and it is taking away from more of a traditional. Type of education. I don't know how much of this is true. That's very knows a lot of the other companies and ask him. Well -- Activating we've we've heard that a lot and to be honest with -- we in the in the a lot of art groups have been around the state for the last year -- any number of reforms legislators that did you know invited to listen to their districts. To hear from teacher to hear from parents. And it's just a lot of media around that and frankly it's it's a little concerning the teacher -- would split with connections that particular email because. There's not that common course standards which are really just what a child needs to. No would be able to do certain grade level there is no book lists to know curriculum -- no textbook list. No nothing that is required with India that. That is people would be a function of our state or local district in fact. Even our state does not have a reading list or are required reading list it's a function of the district's. Now if you look online you can find anything that you look for if you think about it not just on this subject but almost anything. And surely there are books out there that say the line the comment for this or that. And may be their people have a tendons that are doing now on purpose for whatever reasons. But every decision about any textbook or any reading resource or curriculum that's used in the classroom. Is really up to the local school districts so it is that. That's stuff is getting and another probably been a couple instances when we first started the school year but we're very isolated around the state you've heard a couple of things. I think they were. -- -- blaming anybody but it was part of just that the those -- mistakes were made along the way. But I think it's become very very clear now there are no requirements for any of these things might this session during the legislature. The legislature passed a couple of key bills that we would speak to those things one. Definitely saying that we will never have a federal curriculum uneven mistake -- it puts that in control of the local school district and in some cases the teachers. And there's also another piece of their about the -- review of of resources that are used in the classroom. So we have a lot of protections in state they were -- there have been no other law I'm so but these things to keep coming up I think that's unfortunate. Com I agree that I'm. I have I would agree and also. Some of the silver lining. If there is heated debate is that parents really are more Asian -- what was happening in public schools and I think. In decades. And decades of failure apple a crop which they. And I think patent having parents pay attention to what it taught at critical reaching out to that teacher -- parent acrobat capable. That decision -- may be used in the caught him and not a good thing -- event stated given more autonomy to the districts than ever before. About what can -- pot and the relationship that the teacher and parent and the ball it's critical to a child. Very good point and two things I would add to that is to put a little more perspective on the part of the governor's. Education reform plan that was not declared unconstitutional. Believers. One of decentralizing. Power -- fits in with that power and responsibility and authority. Getting more authority in the hands of principles and away from school boards. And that's part of getting it out to the local level because parents don't always know the school's superintendent for most parents and the principal list. And they can get in touch with the principles. The other thing this notion of offensive books. That is not a new controversy you know you've had parents in different parts of the state objecting because they claim that. You know their fifth graders being assigned to read Ulysses -- something -- an accurate hit yes so. But that's not that's an old fight and has nothing to do with common core. OK stay with -- everyone we're gonna continue to stopped and we're gonna hunt can ask these three experts. What the heck is going on with Bobby Jindal stay with this financial under the anyway. Again I want to thank Clancy do boast very Irwin with cable and Camille come away with sloppy. Here to talk about what's happening with common core. I have loved your thoughts on all of office. I think it goes down to the breakdown began. When the governor changed his mind and and I think it was you very use that it is -- against the law to change your mind. But who is he listening to it he's not listening to lobby he's not listening to you he's not listening to a lot of people. He's not listening to his traditional allies who is listening to his core constituency. No pun intended. On the far right. The evangelical far right of the Republican Party. To just expect this that's not really a party thing some of the staunchest defenders of -- court in the legislature. For example the chairman of the senate and house education committees are both conservative Republicans. And they are four common core. So this the common core is a bipartisan issue. In terms of its support but most of its opposition. Is on the far right wing of as a world of the Republican Party although there's one. Interesting. Footnote -- I don't know Barry will appreciate and Camilla as well. The teachers unions are joining with them against common core. Because the teachers unions have always been against accountability. Going back to Mike Foster as I mentioned earlier. So here is Bobby Jindal who. In -- two years ago. Pushed his education reform plants -- redo teacher tenure and to cut. On a lot of levels teacher tenure really angered the teachers' unions and now he's all aligned with them against common core. And Bobby Jindal wants to run for president. And he thinks this is part of his ticket to run for president when he ran for governor. His template was to run to the right of everybody else. And I think that's what he's trying to do in the presidential its lead up build up again in Iowa which is a very conservative state. He wants to be to the right of everybody so this he staking out his flank on the right. Also have to remember and I keep going at the clock is ticking school is going to start this is not. Not organized yet you know you said buried that during genitals meeting with John last week. Now with the superintendent John White what you say that the governor talked mostly about corruption. Not about students teachers the school year. Intimating may be that these issues of how the testing contract contract or park but it was somehow corrupt. Well I think you know that's what the governor spokespersons said afterwards he you know the governor did need in com in so to speak after that that meeting any and his. It is his spokesperson out there and talked for about four that it had kept talking about corruption that's. You know I think what we're seeing as the is that kind of little prelude to the future and in a sense because. Ever since the governor and now it is is strong opposition -- -- big change at that press conference a few weeks ago. Every time that he has tried to do anything to assert what would we don't think anybody would believe would be its constitutional statutory authority to. Stick with its education policies com they've dropped that camera in some way it was some kind of administrative thing where they're implying. Some wrongdoing with which they have yet to describe to us and so. You know I think what you're seeing is a strategy. Which is very very unfortunate thing. Where we are starting to -- to drop hints about improprieties. -- this with the law all of these things go all the way back to Cecil peak are by the way. Not just with this current superintendent -- Light. To try and Indian begin to create and there are two of the there's some Albion corruption in the process. It has been used to purchased -- over many many years. The irony is that it is not that that does -- at. Have to be approved about that very thing position the administration -- after the contracts every single time. They -- reviewed every time there's an amendment to that contract there been something like twelve amendments to that contract over the years. The -- It almost implies that they were a complicit in this thing corruption but. But it's just inherited that that we feel like this distraction from where it is we really need to be and you talk about the the clock ticking. That's the issue I think to focus on the clock is ticking. And there's just tremendous uncertainty in our schools among our teachers principals. And superintendents about to just last week. That are just very concerned about not knowing exactly on what direction they're supposed to be going in other going to be judged. Well if John White was kind enough to command of the Monday about a month ago before this really exploded clearly he he understood that it was sort of tenuous but he said common -- go on this year. The issue is if you don't have the test. It's going back to that accountability thing how to week and all the things that Camille you said the test isn't just for the test it's for all these other issues. We just go ahead and plow through and teach common core. And then then do watch. Yet but I think our message to attend the governor is very simple acting. And we all want would be paid pure. Procurement and -- -- you know I'm legal procurement process. I'll -- he's got a number that you can't awkward to say they're willing our beat the test even you know typically the heartland that they are still. Willing to. We could have a quick simple solution here. That -- for teachers at school event. Two jets go ahead and RP's attempt and went back in the department determine what what what -- what the content of the tests are going to ultimately departure are as. Through the governor's administration it's that simple fix and we we. Continue to urge the governor and the commission administration cute -- -- crop at the. But it is that the governor doesn't want a fix now he does -- it to remain a controversy for his political reasons. And frankly he doesn't give a hoot about the teachers all the students. Or anything else this is all about Bobby Jindal running for president. He once this controversy to remain alive solving it. Takes him out of the national limelight as long as this controversy is raging out there. He gets publicity says he wants that to continue is not in his political interest. And frankly I don't think he cares about the students -- schools. I'm sorry but that's what probably. And I think there's plenty of evidence to back up what I'm saying just what -- just it's a simple obvious solution -- but let me give illegal -- because. I'm a lawyer -- all deferred all the lawyers that they wanna call him. State laws state procurement law. And both Camille and buried them -- around -- enough to know. -- If you just buying paper clips to pencils you go out to public -- but if you're buying a product or service that is unique. That's an exception to the public this law if it's a one of a kind item in the park test it is. We're very close to a one of a kind item and I suspect that's why it wasn't did before because there is. It is common -- and is this test that is a line to it. And maybe there are more than one. Types of park test I don't know I'll defer to burial and a but I believe that that's what happened. And it's important to remember we -- -- -- school was sent a few minutes ago. The Jindal administration approved this contract. And amendments to a time and time again. It reminds me of that scene. In the whole -- Bogart film Casablanca where. Or drug runs a casino and the local gendarme come rushing in. And shut it down and had a vision -- on the state and handsome and appropriate comes from puts something in his pockets of what's that the Tribune says your winnings sir. After the guy says I'm shocked to -- gambling going -- Hello Bobby Jindal has. Was benefited from office when he was four common -- now he suddenly had this epiphany that is against it it just happens to align with his presidential ambitions. You know there are no coincidences -- politics is a real simple solution of this there's also real simple explanation. As to why Bobby Jindal doesn't wanna go there. Stay with us everyone we're not done we'll be right back on Angela on WL. Clancy do boasts very Irwin with the council for on a better Louisiana and Camille Conway with lobbying our guests talking about. What's happening in our educational system sort of the messages. I'm reading from the president of par Robert Travis Scott wrote of really. Scathing scathing commentary. About this whole situation. Calling for the governor to demonstrate that he has the skills to work with people quote. In doing so he could more likely be seen as a leader. Worthy of high office and not just a political candidate who blows with the latest went. Now that's pretty strong stop all of you have said very strong things and it's just falling on deaf ears. But bear in mind and I mentioned this in my column -- gambit this week if you pardon shameless plug -- Bob religion. You know cable par lobby. Those are among Bobby Jindal staunchest supporters from day one and -- this this is his. His. His political and if you will has intellectual. Sounds that's his Federal Reserve on his policies and things and these are the people who provide a lot of them. Political muscle in the legislature because these are groups that have great influence with legislate tours and with business leaders. And when he eliminates them he's really turning on a significant portion of his constituency. And I guess he thinks he either doesn't need -- more he can get them back very easily. But he's only got one more year in office in terms of the not so much in office but in terms of being able to do something because by this time next year. He's gonna pretty much being as lame ducks stage if you still around. You know going system may he may resign to go do like therapy -- often -- devote himself to national issues will -- I had to act against it's worthwhile to point out that while the opponent the common course standards. Are varied vocal -- this is as small minority. Of parents and teachers box and barge. We've seen polls that indicate there's broad support for higher standards and -- aligned with those injured. In the business community being state chambers of commerce across the economic support this in addition to very large. Employers being willing to come forward. As well. I think it -- when we -- -- looking at this overall seems so massively controversial -- the reality is it's a small but vocal. Group of folks who have a lot of concern. But when you start to to break -- concern now. -- you know federal control. Inappropriate content that type of things we've talked about today all of that -- have been addressed -- Working in the address is going forward and -- Again I think we were just urged the governor to defeat that low hanging street solutions it's there and what -- moves forward but that's I think that's. Why do I have this unsettling feeling and I've had a before bumping before this sort of shenanigans going on that perhaps the governor sees himself not. In any democratic role but more than a dictatorial world. But you know it's my way or the highway. -- -- I mean -- the governorship of Louisiana as a very powerful office whether it's held by Bobby Jindal Kathleen Blanco. And Edwin Edwards Mike Foster whoever. All all of our governors. Have been accused. Beings strong. But that's the way our constitution set it up out. I don't mind that you know that here I think he's actually overstepping. And -- and Camille have mentioned this that. He's using. Administrative. Processes. Twos to step in two arena as a step into a realm. But the constitution itself reserves for -- the board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Constitution's very clear up a believes has Bessie is the policy making body for public education all education. He has a constituency that he wants -- please that's against this so he's trying to Angolan finessed. Administratively. When he couldn't get done politically during the legislative session and doesn't have the constitutional authority to do. Well I guess were heading to court for yes we are I just cannot -- Clancy and Barry Irwin. And Camille -- awake for spending the -- with this. We need to know about this this is big time stuff that's gonna affect an awful lot of people. And and we don't wanna take a step back in the state when it comes to education I'm forever grateful to you all we will call you again as this thing progresses. Thank you so very much.