Education

Jun 23, 2014 5:30 PM by AP

Teacher training to continue focus on Common Core

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's universities were instructed Monday to continue training teachers to the Common Core education standards even though Gov. Bobby Jindal is trying to derail the standards in public school classrooms.

The Board of Regents, which oversees public higher education in the state, issued a memo to teacher preparation deans and others on the campuses directing them to continue training on the Common Core standards.

The memo said the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is the agency that approves teacher preparation programs to allow people to become certified teachers - and that the board has adopted and continues to support the Common Core standards.

"Thus, universities will continue to integrate the Louisiana Content Standards into their curriculum. Failure to do so can result in universities losing BESE approval of graduates becoming certified to teach in Louisiana," wrote Jeanne Burns, Regents associate commissioner of teacher and leadership initiatives.

Common Core standards, adopted by more than 40 states, are grade-by-grade benchmarks of what students should learn in English and math. They were developed by states as a way to better prepare students for college and careers.

Jindal announced last week that he was taking steps to try to disrupt use of the multi-state education standards in Louisiana's classrooms. He said the federal government is trying to use Common Core to control local curriculum and educational systems.

He's using his oversight of state contracts to try to keep the state education department from buying standardized testing materials related to Common Core as a way to undermine the standards.

But Jindal can't directly shut down their use in classrooms, and lawmakers rejected attempts to replace Common Core with Louisiana-specific education standards.

BESE President Chas Roemer and Superintendent of Education John White say Jindal has overstepped his authority and they intend to continue with Common Core.

In the memo, Burns said the Board of Regents issued the statement because campuses had sought guidance. She said board chairman Clinton "Bubba" Rasberry also called public university chancellors and presidents to tell them to continue with Common Core training.

Supporters of Common Core say the standards promote critical thinking and raise expectations for students. But criticism has grown as President Barack Obama's administration encouraged states to use the standards, leading to charges that Common Core is an effort to nationalize education.

Jindal was once a supporter of Common Core. Roemer, a Republican, has said he believes the governor changed his stance on Common Core as a way to appeal to tea party organizations and conservative voters who could help him with a likely 2016 presidential bid.

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