In his latest action against the Common Core State Standards and the aligned assessments, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has issued an executive order that asks the state school board to adopt an alternative to the current common-core assessment it plans to give.
In his Jan. 30 order, Jindal cites what he deems growing resistance to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam in the state, and says that it is the responsibility of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to select an alternative test in order to avoid disruption.
“As a viable and necessary action, BESE is urged to grant districts the ability to offer nationally norm-referenced or other comparable assessment appropriate for Louisiana as an alternative to the PARCC test, including abbreviated versions for the purpose of benchmarking, rather than penalizing students, teachers, and schools and jeopardizing our statewide accountability system,” Jindal wrote in his order.
However, Jindal doesn’t have the authority to order the alternative tests on his own. Superintendent John White and the state board have rejected attempts by Jindal to determine the content of the state assessments. Although they’ve tried to negotiate with Jindal about some aspects of the exams, ultimately, they’ve argued, the power to determine the exams’ content lies with them. They’ve also rejected Jindal’s attempts to get the state to drop the common core itself.
Jindal’s Jan. 30 executive order is the latest step in the ongoing battle the Republican governor has waged against the standards and tests. For a rundown of how this protracted and ugly fight got started, see my timeline below:
Only the day before, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that four state board members opposed to the common core wanted a meeting to discuss fears that more parents would opt their students out of PARCC. The paper said that two families in two different districts had recently opted their children out of testing, but that beyond those numbers the momentum behind such an opt-out movement is unclear. (There are 11 members of the state board.)
Julia O’Donoghue of the Times-Picayune had the state board’s response to Jindal’s Jan. 30 executive order:
— Julia O’Donoghue (@JSODonoghue) January 30, 2015
If Jindal’s latest anti-PARCC tactic sounds familiar, look north. At the start of this year, top Wisconsin lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow schools to pick from a menu of alternatives to the common-core aligned Smarter Balanced test. However, it quickly ran into opposition from other legislators.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.