Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Important Statement From 3 BESE Members

For Immediate Release:
3 BESE Members applaud Legislators for seeking BESE /LDOE Accountability
As members of Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), we applaud the Louisiana legislators who are taking legal action against BESE for its improprieties in adopting Common Core education standards. Although we regret that legal action is necessary, the majority of BESE has shown an unwillingness to demand transparency and accountability from the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and State Superintendent of Education John White, and we share the frustrations of the legislators who feel compelled to seek justice for Louisiana’s children.
The legislators note that BESE did not follow the Louisiana Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in adopting Common Core education standards. Specifically, BESE did not follow APA’s requirement that all rules adopted by BESE be publicly advertised for 90 days prior to adoption. The purpose of this 90 day requirement is to promote transparency and good governance by allowing review and feedback from the public. It’s clear that BESE did not follow this requirement when it adopted the Common Core standards.
Sadly, this is not the only instance where BESE ignored APA requirements when adopting rules that impact our children. In 2012, as BESE members concerned about this practice of ignoring the APA, we made a motion requesting an Attorney General’s opinion on the legal ramifications of ignoring the APA requirements. The majority of BESE voted against seeking clarification on APA requirements from the Attorney General.
Furthermore, an ongoing audit of the LDOE’s contracts for education assessment services has documented serious defects in the procurement process used to award assessment testing contracts – totaling millions of taxpayer dollars – to out-of-state businesses.
Although the audit process is still ongoing, the audit’s initial findings raise troubling questions about the fairness and transparency of the LDOE’s award of contracts to vendors providing Common Core testing services.
These questions must be answered by Superintendent John White, yet the majority of BESE seems determined to sue Governor Jindal for seeking answers to these questions rather than addressing them. Irrespective of the merits and weaknesses of the Common Core standards and PARCC, the public should have complete confidence in the LDOE and BESE’s ability to follow the law and operate transparently and fairly. Sadly, that is not the case, and legal action must be taken to ensure justice and fairness from those entrusted to educate our children.
Sincerely,
Lottie P. Beebe, BESE District 3, Breaux Bridge, LA
Carolyn Hill, BESE District 8, Baton Rouge, LA
Jane Smith, BESE Member at Large, Bossier, LA
 
My personal note: I attended some of the BESE meetings around the time that CCSS was officially adopted. I can honestly say that I never witnessed any real discussions of the standards themselves before they were adopted. No public input was invited or given on the standards because no one even had a copy of them. Superintendent Pastorek simply stated at the time that these would be state of the art standards and that LA had to adopt them as part of the effort to get Race to the Top money. Pastorek told everyone that Louisiana had a unique opportunity to get that money because the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had assigned a staff member to work with the LDOE in drafting its RTTT application. It was all about the money. No one seemed to be concerned about how these standards would actually affect students and teachers. Typical way of setting education policy in Louisiana!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Revelations on Education by the New Orleans Imperitive

Get the latest developments about the crisis in public education caused by education deformers. Listen to Dr. Mark Naison and Crazy Crawfish, Jason France on radio WBOK, (This link allows you to see the recorded version of the program) New Orleans on Monday, at 10:00 A.M. Dr Naison will discuss his recent news story comparing the striking similarities between the current charter school movement and the recent sub-prime mortgage crises.

Jason France has new findings about how the so called Louisiana Recovery District creates  graduation statistics while hundreds of students roam the streets instead of getting an education.  Could many New Orleans schools still be classified as "dropout factories"?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Louisiana Teacher Writes About Common Core in Her Classroom

The following is a letter from a 3rd grade teacher in a Louisiana public school. It gives her opinion on Common Core based on how it is working in her classroom.

Common Core: A Destructive Experiment
Teachers and parents have recently become vocal about their opposition to Common Core, which has sparked some questions: Why is there a national debate about Common Core?
If Common Core is such a good “product”, why are the proponents having such a hard time “selling” it?
As a 3rd grade math teacher, my goal is to help children develop a love for math and learning. I have been successful in meeting the individual learning needs of my students by incorporating hands-on methods and by being flexible in my teaching methods. Unfortunately, Common Core has taken the fun out of learning. Students are complaining of math being boring, confusing, and tedious in its completion.
Common Core treats every child as identical with identical needs, abilities, and learning styles, as well as using a confusing method of teaching math. According to common core methods, using the standard algorithm doesn’t give students a “deep and conceptual understanding” of what they are doing. That claim has not been supported by any research. However, it has been proven that correctly applied standard algorithms work the first time, every time. Many students prefer the traditional method of math, finding the new math to be confusing and tedious.
Hours of training and in-services have been held just to help teachers understand these new standards….time and money taken away from teaching our students. Promoters of Common Core claim that the standards are “clear and concise”. The amount of training required to “unpack” the standards contradicts the claim of “clear and concise”.
Parents are just as frustrated because they feel alienated from helping their children with homework.
Also, there is concern that children are not learning the basics of math through Common Core instruction.
If you do not fully understand the Common Core standards, please spend a little time educating yourself on the topic.
Parents, teachers, and concerned citizens are refusing to “buy” this experimental product for a reason.
This national debate over Common Core will continue until this destructive experiment on our children is stopped.
Julie Dyson
Elementary School Teacher
-DeQuincy, LA