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La. BESE Member Jane Smith to Governor Jindal: Drop CC and PARCC

June 11, 2014

Below is an open letter written to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal by Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) member and Jindal-appointee, Jane Smith.

Smith wants to encourage Jindal to follow through on his plans to drop CCSS and PARCC in Louisiana.

Let me add, it is certainly time.

 

Using the words of the song of the year from the movie, FROZEN, I say, Governor Jindal, “Let it Go!”  Let it Go!”  Let Go of the Common Core and PARCC.

Having spent my entire career in education, I’ve become very concerned about the federal entrenchment and intrusion into our local schools. This entrenchment has been branded as “leading America to new heights of achievement in education.”  While serving as superintendent in my district, I observed over the years how the national education goals were just the wedge and the tool needed to cement a federal presence in local schools.

Upon my recent appointment to BESE, I said that I looked forward to being part of the conversation concerning Common Core  State Standards (CCSS) and related, PARCC tests.  I have spoken with many educators and parents to conclude that these untested ventures are NOT what is best for Louisiana’s children.

If you question that conclusion, then consider this example of “federal intrusion”:  When Indiana pulled out of the CCSS , officials with the U.S. Department of Education told Indiana education leaders that they could lose more than 200 MILLION DOLLARS In Federal support if USDOE did not approve of the local school districts standards. (This was reported in the Washington Times.)  What an unprecedented and disturbing “Federal Intrusion.”

I hope Governor Jindal will “let go” of the untested CC and out-of-state-designed curricula Louisiana schools will be forced to use.  The tests will be Common Core to the Core!

Proponents of CCSS claim using these standards will increase rigor.  I believe it will increase confusion.

Our school districts are forced to use this confusing example of a FIRST GRADE math question  from the Engage New York Website, which is supposedly aligned with Common Core:

1.  Jennifer says that you can use addition to solve subtraction.

2.  She says to solve 9-6 you just add 6.  

3.  Explain why Jennifer is both RIGHT AND WRONG using words, pictures and numbers.

Really? Are you kidding me?  No wonder parents are angry and students are frustrated.

This problem is not age appropriate for a first grader. It is confusing and requires much further explanation.

Asking first graders to solve math problems this way will only assure that many of them will not have a proper foundation.  The issue is NOT isolated to math; it is scattered throughout the teaching materials associated with  many ” so called CCSS aligned ” curriculum.

Governor Jindal, you have made it abundantly clear that you want out of Common Core and PARCC. You are correct to do so.  Other states also want out.  I say, “The sooner the better.”

When a good leader realizes that something is wrong, that leader will not continue down the same road.  We should “let it go” from Louisiana as many other states are doing- we all know more are soon to follow.  That will then make the next verse of the song even more appropriate:  “LET IT GO. LET IT GO… TURN AWAY AND SLAM THE DOOR!”
Jane H. Smith
BESE Member at Large

5 Comments
  1. Linda Parker permalink

    Yes, Governor Jindal, please get our children out of this destructive “curriculum”. Learning is supposed to be fun, not confusing.

  2. christine lyles permalink

    Having lived in Shreveport for over 20 years, I have always known Jane Smith (as principal and superintendent) to do what is best for the students. She has always been “on the money” when it comes to the best interest of education and students. Thank you Jane Smith for stating the obvious — CCSS is nothing more than another program WE DON’T NEED!

  3. Such well written advice!

  4. There is deeper, older legislation that was passed that got us here. Please don’t just stop at getting a veto of HB953!

  5. OrangeMath permalink

    For those, reasonably, confused by the question itself on addition: Students would have nine blue tiles and six red (for negative) tiles. Adding six blues, means pairing one red with one blue, which makes a pair disappear. A student would be left with six blue tiles as a result. This is an area where pedagogy begs the question. If students can do the pairing, they already know 9-6=3 anyway. They will see this as busy work, but observers see engagement. Yay, better instruction!

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