Louisiana’s NCLB Waiver, Complete with Promised CCSS and PARCC
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was not reauthorized in 2007. Nor was it reauthorized in 2008. Nor has it been reauthorized in 2014.
NCLB, with its nonsense “100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014,” has been lingering on legislative life support, even as 2014 is surely coming to an end.
But the beauty of NCLB for test-driven reform lay in its “waivers.”
States had to petition USDOE for permission to be released from the idiotic “100 percent proficiency” goal noted above.
In February 2012, Louisiana State Superintendent John White submitted this NCLB waiver application to USDOE. In May 2012, the waiver was approved.
(For other Louisiana NCLB docs, click here.)
As part of Louisiana’s NCLB waiver deal, White assures USDOE that Louisiana will forge ahead with both the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments.
My favorite part is the guarantee of “overwhelming support from the public and from educators” in July 2010, when the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) adopted CCSS.
He doesn’t mention that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former State Superintendent Paul Pastorek signed the CCSS MOU in May 2009 and that they could not garner support for CCSS from the majority of school districts (only 26 out of 69 wanted CCSS in 2010).
In 2012, as part of a deal to remove Louisiana from life-support “100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014,” White offers this embellished account (expect nothing less from him) of Louisiana’s loving embrace of CCSS and PARCC.
White notes “discussing adoption” of CCSS in 2010. He fails to mention that Jindal and Pastorek signed the CCSS MOU a year earlier. Thus, the “discussion” was not of whether to adopt CCSS; it was just to get “input” for the CCSS draft.
Notice also the “PK to 16 seamless education push,” and the marketing of “a single powerful message” about “Louisiana reforms.”
Here it is: White’s complete text promising US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that Louisiana will be faithful to CCSS and PARCC:
Louisiana believes that the successful implementation of innovative policies relies on the input and investment of local educators and other stakeholders. For this reason, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) sought extensive input into the development of the various initiatives included in this application and into the development of the application itself. Groups involved include educators – teachers, principals, district-level officials and Superintendents, and university and college professors and deans – and the public – business leaders, civic leaders, and parents.
Stakeholder Engagement for Application Initiatives
College- and Career-Readiness: Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) Assessments
In early 2010, the LDOE contacted several statewide professional education organizations to announce the release of the draft Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and to discuss their adoption. The organizations approached for this opportunity included:
• the Louisiana School Boards Association,
• the Louisiana Federation of Teachers,
• the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana,
• the Louisiana Association of Principals,
• the Louisiana Council of Teachers of English (LCTE),
• the Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics (LATM),
• the Louisiana Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (LCSM), and
• twenty teacher panels representing English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics.
The input and comments of these groups were then incorporated into the official input that the LDOE provided to the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) regarding the draft CCSS standards. In July 2010, with overwhelming support from the public and from educators, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved the adoption of the CCSS in a public meeting.
Major work on CCSS at the state level began in 2011, as the LDOE developed and disseminated the first CCSS communications tools and a web page specifically for the transition to CCSS (http://www.doe.state.la.us/topics/common_core.html). This website continues to serve as a repository of information regarding CCSS and Louisiana’s implementation plan, webinars, crosswalk documents, training and modeling videos, brochures, and other related materials, which can be accessed by teachers, school leaders, parents, and the general public. Grade-by-grade parent guides of the CCSS, published by the National Parent Teacher Association, are included on the site. During the same year, the LDOE also convened committees of Social Studies educators who developed new Social Studies Grade-Level Expectations to complement the CCSS. The new Social Studies Grade-Level Expectations were adopted by BESE in June 2011.
CCSS outreach and communications priorities for summer and fall 2011 focused primarily on CCSS awareness. The general awareness webinar was presented to postsecondary education campus leaders – presidents/chancellors, chief academic officers, and deans – district superintendents, charter school leaders, and curriculum supervisors, as well as some education stakeholder organizations. These individuals then re-delivered this information to college faculty, teachers, parents, and community leaders.
Additionally, the Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence adopted a 2011-2012 agenda that focuses on the preparation of students who are college- and career-ready as new CCSS and PARCC assessments are implemented in Louisiana. Composed of 36 state, university, district, school, and community leaders, the Commission was formed in 1999 by the Governor, the Board of Regents (BOR), and BESE to improve teacher quality and educational leadership in Louisiana. Its specific charge was to recommend policies to the Governor, Board of Regents, and BESE that would lead to a cohesive PK-16+
system – a system that holds universities and school districts accountable for the aggressive recruitment, preparation, support, and retention of quality teachers and educational leaders. During the 2011-2012 academic year, the Commission set out to answer specific questions around the integration of CCSS and PARCC assessments across all grades and higher education. The work of this group further signifies the commitment by Louisiana’s entire education community to implement the CCSS and PARCC assessments, to align elementary and secondary standards and assessments with college and university expectations, and to ensure a seamless PK-16 education system aimed at preparing all students to be college and career ready.
The LDOE has assembled a state leadership team to ensure the effective implementation of CCSS. In addition to LDOE staff, leadership team members also include two district superintendents, two senior district leaders in charge of curriculum and assessments, and the Associate Commissioner for Teacher and Leadership Initiatives at the Louisiana Board of Regents. Close collaboration with the BOR ensures full state implementation of the CCSS in schools, districts, and educator preparation programs. BOR has convened meetings of college and university presidents and chancellors, provosts, vice presidents for academic affairs, and the deans of colleges of arts, sciences, and education, for the purpose of developing an implementation plan to revise educator preparation programs to reflect the CCSS.
As Louisiana moves forward with its initiatives, the LDOE continues to seek stakeholder input as it is essential to success. The state is in the process of revising its state Science standards in collaboration with other state education agencies through Achieve CCSS, as well as other stakeholders in science, science education, higher education, and business and industry. (Achieve is an independent, bi-partisan non-profit organization with a 15-year track record of working with states to improve student achievement by aligning K-12 education policies with the expectations of employers and the postsecondary community.) Upon integrating public input, a set of K-12 Next Generation Science Standards will be ready for state adoption. A Louisiana team including district and school representatives attended the Building Capacity in State Science Education meeting, hosted by the Council of State Supervisors, in February 2012. At this meeting, states received an update on the development of the new standards, discussed ways in which stakeholders can be involved in the review process, and planned for implementation if adopted.
Priorities for CCSS outreach and communications during spring 2012 include professional development for educators and college faculty about the new standards, as well as modeling effective instructional strategies to teach the new standards. General awareness activities will continue in order to inform stakeholders, including policymakers, community and business leaders, parents and students. Going forward, LDOE’s communications strategy will focus on conveying a single, powerful message about Louisiana’s education priorities and reforms in a manner that is clearly understood by the general public. That message will encompass CCSS as well as educator effectiveness, Louisiana’s strong accountability system for schools and districts, and the state’s commitment to provide high-quality education for all children – all of which are critical to ensure that students graduate prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce. [Emphasis added.]
There you have it: White’s (USDOE approved) promise to Duncan that Louisiana will abide by the USDOE-approved option of CCSS and PARCC in order to escape sanctions for not producing the “100 percent proficiency in reading and math” required by a foolish-yet-lingering, powerful-“waiver”-yielding NCLB.
There is more to the Louisiana NCLB waiver, including the agreement to measure teachers using student test scores and a listing of the “stakeholders” consulted in the NCLB waiver process. (Black Alliance for Educational Options–BAEO, Stand for Children, Council for a Better Louisiana–CABL, and Louisiana Association of Business and Industry–LABI are avid CCSS supporters on this list.)
There’s also a chart of RSD school *improvement* (with no embarrassing school letter grades) on page 45. It’s really classic data manipulation in showing *increase* of students scoring Basic or above on all state standardized tests from 2007 to 2011. Here’s the accompanying sales pitch:
As an example of the power of this(RSD) turnaround mechanism, from 2008 to 2011, schools in the RSD demonstrated academic growth rates that more than tripled the state’s average academic growth during the same period.
Equally impressive, the RSD’s passage rates for all statewide assessments were greater than all of the four largest districts within the state. From 2007 to 2011, the RSD in New Orleans more than doubled the percentage of all tests passed by its students—from 23 percent to 48 percent, a total of 25 points—while the state grew six points over the same period of time.
That RSD is sure fantastic. If only it worked.
Also included is White’s assurance of PARCC “management” as being connected to Achieve (one of the inside groups for CCSS creation)– which is ironic given that in September 2013, former senior VP of Achieve Laura Slover was appointed CEO of the PARCC nonprofit.
Small, insular, privatizing world, eh?
White also discusses “technology readiness” and admits that 2013-14 would be the first “full implementation” year for CCSS:
During 2013-2014, the LDOE will identify curriculum resources for all grades and subjects that fully align to the CCSS for use by all schools and districts. The CCSS will fully replace the Grade-Level Expectations in ELA and Mathematics, and new content standards for Social Studies and Science, pending adoption by BESE, will be in place for all grades. The new PARCC assessments will be administered in 2014-2015.
White did not inform Louisiana districts of the 2013-14 full implementation of CCSS, and he did not deliver on those CCSS curriculum resources for that unannounced 2013-14 full implementation.
There is much more detail to Louisiana’s NCLB waiver (it is 173 pages long).
I’ll leave the rest for ambitious readers to peruse.
Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education
NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.