Legislative Session

Apr 22, 2014 2:49 AM by associated press

Lawmakers discuss implications of scrapping Common Core

Senators on the budget-writing committee Monday questioned the costs and implications of a push by some lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal to shelve Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards and associated testing. Superintendent of Education John White told the Senate Finance Committee that moving away from testing plans tied to Common Core would be "at significant financial cost."

White, a supporter of Common Core, estimated the state's costs would grow by at least $5 million next year to develop state-specific tests. He said local school systems would pay millions more to buy new curricula and do new teacher training on different standards.

"They've made sizable investments. They'd have to go back and redo those investments," White said. The House Education Committee defeated measures to move Louisiana away from the Common Core and to jettison use of standardized testing from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career, or PARCC.

But legislative efforts continue, with the support of Jindal, who said he has concerns about a "one-size-fits-all approach" used across multiple states. The governor said if lawmakers don't scrap the PARCC tests, he'd consider trying to remove the state from the multi-state consortium on his own. The new standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year. White told senators that if Louisiana chose to end its agreement with PARCC, the state has no other tests to put in place next school year.

Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, said developing a set of replacement tests in time for the next school year seemed impractical, if not impossible. "I cannot imagine how we would do it," White said. White said it would take roughly 18 months to develop and field test questions for new state-specific standardized tests and have them ready to roll out for classrooms.

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