The Three La. Common Core Development “Teachers” Work for LDOE
This is the story of two press releases and three Louisiana “mystery” teachers involved in “developing” CCSS.
The first is the July 2009 National Governors Association (NGA) press release for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics work groups– the “inner circle” that is the only group identified as “developing” CCSS based upon the language in the CCSS MOU (memorandum of understanding).
This first press release does not clearly identify any Louisiana classroom teachers.
As it turns out, both NGA and its CCSS copyright owner, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released another document dated September 2013 on the Louisiana Regents website, supposedly listing the same information: CCSS ELA and math work group membership.
The names on the two documents do not exactly match. In fact, the 2013 Louisiana Regents document– publicized three years after CCSS was completed— includes what appears as an effort to show that “teachers” were involved in “developing” CCSS.
Most of the additions have either university or state department of education affiliations.
It seems that these additions fulfill the the following statement from the 2009 release:
The Standards Development Work Group is currently engaged in determining and writing the college and career readiness standards in English-language arts and mathematics. This group is composed of content experts from Achieve, Inc., ACT, and the College Board. This group will be expanded later in the year to include additional experts to develop the standards for grades K-12 in English language arts and mathematics. [Emphasis added.]
Let us consider the “additional experts,” especially those from Louisiana.
Two Louisiana “Teachers” on the Math Work Group
Only four members of the 50-member CCSS math work group are listed as classroom teachers.
Three are from Louisiana. Two are certified Louisiana teachers:
Nancy Beben, director, curriculum standards, Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE).
James Madden, professor of mathematics, Louisiana State University.
Madden holds no Louisiana teaching certificate.
Carolyn Sessions, standards and curriculum projects coordinator, LDOE.
UPDATE 04-11-14: “Alice Carolyn Smith Sessions” holds a Louisiana teaching certificate which includes mathematics. Sessions left the classroom in 2002; from 2008-2012, she coordinated the development of “all state standards in Louisiana’s comprehensive curriculum.”
Sessions is also a “Louisiana representative on the PARCC work group.”
The curiosity here is that Louisiana is dumping its state standards because they are supposedly inferior to CCSS, yet LDOE placed the Louisiana standards coordinator on the CCSS work group.
Note that I do not believe Louisiana’s former standards were inferior. However, if former Louisiana State Superintendent Paul Pastorek discarded Louisiana’s standards in favor of CCSS, why include the “inferior” standards coordinator as part of the CCSS work group?
If the purpose in including Sessions as part of the CCSS work group is to say that she has experience writing standards, why not keep the Louisiana standards developed under Sessions’ supervision?
However, the best curiosity is this: According to Sessions’ linkedin bio, there is no mention of her CCSS work group participation. The only mention is of the CCSS math implementation in Louisiana, dated September 2012.
Up until her September 2012 role in CCSS math implementation, Sessions’ linkedin bio lists her professional activities with “coordinat[ing] the development of all state standards and the Louisiana’s Comprehensive Curriculum.”
Sessions includes no accounting for active participation in “developing” CCSS math standards during the time that such were being developed, between June 2009 and June 2010.
A whole lot more evidence that replacing Louisiana’s former standards with CCSS is little more than a political game.
One Louisiana “Teacher” on the ELA Work Group
Only three of the 48 CCSS ELA work group members identify themselves as classroom teachers.
Only one ELA work group member is from Louisiana:
Jan Freeland, middle and secondary English Language Arts (ELA) coordinator, LDOE.
Freeland holds a Louisiana teaching certificate in English (appears to be for grades 6 thru 12).
The Short of It
Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) member Holly Boffy’s inability to name the three Louisiana “teachers” who “developed” CCSS during her appearance before the Louisiana House Education Committee in April 2014 is rather remarkable given that all three work for LDOE and one (Carolyn Sessions) also served on the PARCC operational work group– the group Boffy purportedly could name when asked by Rep. Dee Richard.
None is currently a classroom teacher.
All seem to have been selected in a last-minute attempt to make “teacher development” of CCSS appear true in this suspicious, 2013 “publicizing” of “teacher” involvement on the CCSS ELA and math work groups.
Given the sneaky manipulations of both BESE and LDOE, none of the three might even know that each is supposed to represent “teachers” in CCSS development.
There is only one word for this shoddy effort to “include” Louisiana teachers in CCSS development: