Earlier this week, Louisiana legislators approved a new set of academic standards to replace the Common Core State Standards, reports my colleague Daarel Burnette II.
Louisiana initially adopted the common core for English/language arts and math in 2010. But over the next several years, that move incited uproar among conservative legislators who said the federal government had imposed the standards, and that they didn’t fit the states’ needs. (The Obama administration offered financial incentives, in the form of Race to the Top money, for states that adopted college- and career-ready standards, including the common core.)
As Burnette writes, about 21 percent of the standards were changed (meaning most of the standards are the same as the common core). But what’s really new within the altered portions?
According to the state education department’s website, the new standards were changed to be “less vague and less open to multiple interpretations,” to allow teachers to choose texts, to teach financial literacy and the study of money earlier, and to put the high school math standards in order.
But the state also has a nice crosswalk on its website, which highlights the changes more specifically.
In many cases, the alterations really aren’t more than slight tweaks—for example, a new 5th grade reading standard says students will “utilize information from multiple print or digital sources” instead of “draw on information from multiple print or digital sources,” as it’s worded in the common core. At times, examples are added or removed, notes are included to clarify what the standard is referring to, or two standards are combined.
Looking through the crosswalk document, here are some of the more major changes that I noticed:
- There are just four completely new standards—one each in kindergarten, 1st grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade math.
- The additional kindergarten and 1st grade math standards ask students to recognize the value of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. The common-core standards don’t mention money until 2nd grade.
- The high school math standards are labeled as Algebra I, geometry, and Algebra II. In the common core, the high school standards are categorized by topic but not by course. This is in part because some schools will choose to teach integrated math courses (Math I, II, III) rather than the typical Algebra I-geometry-Algebra II progression.
- Several of the new kindergarten ELA standards add the words “with prompting and support” or “with guidance and support,” but are otherwise the same as the common core.
- In the common core, an 11th grade literature standard that asks students to “determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text,” says Shakespeare should be included, “as well as other authors.” The new Louisiana standard removes the reference to Shakespeare, but maintains the rest of the standard.
Louisiana isn’t the only state to switch to new standards that look very similar to the common core. Indiana and South Carolina both repealed the common core and went on to adopt standards that are nearly the same.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.