Covering Louisiana

May 23, 2013 6:35 PM by AP

Senate rejects move to stop Common Core standards

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A resolution pushed by tea party groups seeking to keep the state from using a set of uniform national standards for public school testing was killed Thursday by the Louisiana Senate.

Senators voted 27-8 to shelve the legislation and keep it from moving any further, a day after the Senate Education Committee advanced the proposal without taking action.

Education Committee Chairman Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, asked senators to scrap the legislation, saying Sen. A.G. Crowe's resolution contained "a number of assumptions that are not true."

Crowe, R-Slidell, said he was not attempting to stop implementation of the Common Core standards, but just wanted to continue the debate because of concerns from his constituents.

"This is not about whether we should have Common Core standards, it's about the how," Crowe said. "The resolution is about how it will be implemented."

However, the resolution urged the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the state Department of Education to "immediately terminate all plans, programs, activities, and expenditures relative to implementation" of Common Core.

Common Core state standards have been adopted in 45 states and are currently being phased in to Louisiana schools. The standards, created by committees of education officials from those states, are a grade-by-grade rubric of skills and knowledge that students should acquire in core subject areas, such as math and English.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the new standards in 2010, and they will be fully phased into Louisiana's curriculum and testing by the 2014-15 school year.

Appel said passing the resolution would cast aspersion on the standards.

He said testimony from educators Wednesday debunked several claims contained in the resolution, including that student's mental health and family status will be used for Common Core tests and assignments, that states were pressured into adopting the standards and that teachers won't be able to tailor classroom lessons.

"Common core is not curricula. Common Core is a set of standards," in which each school district sets its own curriculum, Appel said.

Opponents say by adopting the national standards, Louisiana is abdicating local control of its curriculum to the federal government. In addition, backers of the resolution say they are concerned about the way student information will be collected and used by the U.S. Department of Education. They fear the information will not be secure and could lead to privacy issues.

Tea party supporters characterized Common Core in the committee testimony as "federalized government" and the "nationalization of education."

Use of the Common Core standards is supported by state Education Superintendent John White. He said BESE will have a meeting in June at which student data collection will be discussed.

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