Common Core: Stay, Go or Fix

I’m very concerned about all of the lawsuits and legal commotion surrounding the Common Core State Standards that were adopted by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the BESE Board in 2010. These standards are described as fundamental descriptions of reading, writing, and math skills that focus on the ability to think independently.

As a legislator, complaints I’ve received about Common Core from parents include its educational “sticker shock” on students, who are unable to complete the work, even after several hours per night that the parents spend helping their children, and from teachers, who don’t have current material or sufficient direction. Others have warned that the standards are nothing more than a vast conspiracy masterminded by East Coast mad scientists and financed by West Coast techies to be shoved down the throats of the rest of us and that Common Core is nothing more than the educational version of Obamacare.

On the other hand, its supporters insist that it is essential to upgrade Louisiana educational outcomes, which we all know have been at the bottom or towards the bottom of rankings for decades. By ignoring the standards, Common Core proponents warn, Louisiana students are just going to fall further behind.

So who’s right? Is Common Core so fundamentally flawed that it needs to be thrown out and start over? Common Core does not have the best connotation these days and has come to personify everything bad about an overreaching federal government ruining education and brainwashing our children.

Still we do live in a standardized test world, and those pesky test scores, more than anything else, determine a student’s choice of college or graduate school or scholarship assistance, be the test the ACT, SAT or the Graduate School Exams like the LSAT. If the standardized tests are undergoing change, is it risky to ignore this?

Now the matter is apparently in the courts and do we really want public policy dictated by the courts?

I would like to hear from people on the front lines that are dealing with Common Core directly. Is it working or not? Does it need to be scrapped? Does it need to be fixed? Can it be fixed?

I would like to try to initiate a blog discussion on this very important topic so that I as a legislator can get some direction and possibly help address the issue in the next legislative session.

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49 comments on “Common Core: Stay, Go or Fix
  1. C.B. Forgotston says:

    Time to step up and litigate SB 294. We taxpayers should not foot the bill for the mess you leges created.

  2. Ronnie Martin says:

    KILL COMMON CORE

  3. Lynn Pyke says:

    I’m all for Common Core. From what I read, the objection seems to be an emotional one: it didn’t originate here in Louisiana. Well guess what, we exist within a broader America and a global world. Louisianians must be more motivated and more capable than anyone else. Otherwise the best jobs and opportunities will go to those other individuals and communities that are willing to work for it. Learning and improving oneself starts early in life and continues for a lifetime.

    It strikes me as arrogant to believe that only the best ideas are homegrown. The facts are that Louisiana is close to the bottom in education nationally. It should be obvious that what’s been done in the past has not been adequate. Unless something changes, Louisiana will stay at the bottom.

    I assume the Common Core program is a minimum standard. Louisiana should not have as a goal minimum standards but rather set goals far beyond that. We should be looking at the states ranked in the top five and emulate their programs. True objections to Common Core should be that it doesn’t go far enough, rather than the bogus complaint of a federal takeover. With that kind of focus, Common Core may well become a mere shrug on the way to a more economically vibrant Louisiana.

  4. Edward Fox Jr says:

    Common core should go education is a state problem not a federal one

  5. MGriffin says:

    I am very concerned about the “All in” approach to the implementation of Common Core.

    The standards seem to being thrown into every grade all the way up – often confusing the students that have learned a tried and true method – now being confused by a new approach to solving a problem. I find this especially true with my older child. He does not understand the numerous methods to solving a math problem, and often asks, why can’t I just do it the way I know, the easy way, with less steps. I am at a loss for a good explantation to provide to him.

    I find that many of the standards trying to be taught are not developmentally and age in appropriate. NOne of the panels of people that developed these standards were child psychologist and could weigh in on what ages are appropriate to teach such skills as comprehension, reasoning, analytical thinking, etc. Thus trying to teach something that is not age appropriate only results in stress, anxiety, confusion, frustration. This then results in both the child and parent becoming so stressed that no one is getting any of the intended results of this supposed improved skill sets.

    My 10 year old seems to have increasing stress, anxiety. For the past year he has come down each Sunday evening and complained of a “Stomach Ache and not being able to go to sleep”. There is no physical illness, this is all related to stress and anxiety of what the week ahead will entail. We have attempted to teach him relaxation techiniques, deep breathing to try and calm himself. This week he seemed to have such an extreme panic attack that he had to be picked up from school. He could not even verbalize what was really producing the “illness”; only us as parents could recognize that this could be nothing more than stress related.

    It is one thing to phase in a new untested, unproved teaching method, but to scrap everything that previously worked is uncomprehenable. The homework is extremely lengthy, frustrating to both the children and parents. Concepts and the required lenghty written “explanations” are useless. Teach the life skills at age appropriate times and do what is proven to have worked. We have states that did not accept the common core standards and the schools have always been high performing. Take Texas for example, of which both myself and my step-daughters are products of…extremely high performing schools. Let’s mimic Louisiana school systems off the proven successes of Texas schools and move from there. Let’s not try some concocted, unproven political set of standards. Common core seems to be benefiting Bill Gates foundation, and the companies he is in bed with to create the all new text books, only to increase people’s income, surely not to ensure our children are the true beneficiaries of a great education.

    Use what has been proven and works in school / state districts with high performing students and mimic that. Don’t start with some standards that were loosely developed and have not proven track record anywhere!

    I am begging all Louisiana politicians to help us parents get this Common core out of Louisiana. I want the Federal goverment out of the business of dealing with education.

    Let the true teachers, school administrators and successful school districts be in charge of any educational changes and not legislators.

  6. LTC(R) Charles L. McNeely says:

    Tim,
    From what I’ve heard and read, it’s not the idea of standardized testing, it’s the content or lack thereof. In order to meet standards established by DOE, the content has been “dumbed-down”, which of course, is nothing new, but it is even worse now under CC. Have one of your staff members or a retired teacher review the curricula and see what is missing that was bedrock material before CC. You will likely be shocked.

  7. jim alack cpa says:

    we suggest you stick with gov Jindal!!!

  8. Betty Norton says:

    I have grandchildren in school. I think it is time we stop watering down education which we have done
    For the past 40 years. Let every adjust to common core. If they know they have to, they will.

    • Louisiana Pierre says:

      “If they know they have to, they will.”
      They don’t “have to”, they are FORCED to.
      They are FORCED to be INDOCTRINATED by the Socialism flowing like a Big Stink out of Washington, D.C.
      Common Core is really COMMUNIST CORE.
      Common Core is what our Soldiers fought, bled, and Died to prevent.
      If Common Core Lives, Freedom Dies.

  9. Sharon haber says:

    This has become a political issue because of the governor. According to my grandchildren that attend public school in st Tammany , they have had these guide lines in the school for a while. They seem to understand the work and is has challenged them. They are is the gifted group and that may make a difference. I do know that when one of my grandchildren went to college out of state, she realized she had a lot of catching up to do even though she was an A student.
    We have spent so much money getting ready for this and the teachers are prepared. Now Gov Jindal has big dreams and he is costing the state lots with. His foolishness .
    I am so sorry I voted for him and am disappointed with anyone that goes along with him

  10. Lisa Ward says:

    As you noted, La is consistently at the bottom of the list educationally. There are probably many reasons for this but it is clear that Louisiana is not going to come up with a way to fix the problem so we need to give the Common Core approach a fair shot. Watch out for those who have a knee jerk negative reaction just because it is from “the feds”. After all, we live in a nation – not just the state of Louisiana and our kids will have to compete nationally.

  11. Tommy says:

    Anyone who is for common core has not helped a child with the “new” math.

    The stories of children who loved school and math and now cry because they have to go to school and their parents and relatives are unable to help them with homework are too numerous to even begin to list.

    This is another “experiment” that is messing with our children’s future and is an abomination.

  12. Mark Mackey says:

    Anyone who has read the questions in some of the homework, tests, and info in the lessons, should be horrified by Common Core.

  13. mccullough says:

    Get rid of Common Core. Get back to teaching skills rather than to the test. Yes, Louisiana needs to improve our standards in education. But Common Core is not the answer. Common Core is just another gimmick. Teach the basics and then build from there. Without a firm grasp and functional knowledge of basic reading and mathematics a student will flounder and fall by the wayside.

    I see resumes from college graduates that are a disgrace. Graduates cannot perform simple math without a calculator. Reading comprehension and vocabulary skills are lacking. Students have become so dependent upon technology that they can no longer spell words.
    The Federal government has no business in education. And as is true with most things, when the government meddled in education common sense went out the window and the one size fits all mentality reared it’s ugly head. Everyone must be taught the same even if it doesn’t work.

    What do you think will happen when Common Core fails to teach students and they end up either socially promoted or drop out due to frustration? Our country has a generation of people without hope who are lucky to get a minimum wage job.

  14. remi delouche says:

    It is to late La is competing in the global economy. Tests determine for the most of us, college, grad school, good jobs( even if just grade point) and that fact needs to be recognized. Common core is here to stay for the majority of the US. LA WAS 48_49_50th 40 years ago in education and still is today. The state with the population of a city can vent all it wishes and the result will be the same. We we will be judged by our education ranked by tests. ACT and COMMON CORE ATTAINMENT whether we adopt them or not, so we might as well and get the value. As a business owner member of PAR, LABI and others,including the Baton Rouge press association I get to hear the complete comments of the like of CABL, John White and detractors and find all concerns aside we will be far ahead educating to Common Core Standards so our children can better make their way in this large world.

  15. Jenny says:

    It can’t be fixed. It’s copyrighted and not owned by the state. Scrap it and go back to actually teaching kids and not the focus on testing. How much will schools improve if we actually teach instead of data mine and test? There is too much reliance on technology as well. Teachers should be credentialed and valued for what they can bring to the classroom, not act as facilitators. All this “reform” has gotten completely out of control. Also, John White can change the cut scores any time he wants, so what are we actually comparing? We know his and BESE’s agenda is to get rid of public schools and put in the charters. Let’s call it like it is. Who knows how kids will do under this? You can’t trust the data coming out of the LDOE. Check out Louisiana Educator, he outlines that you can pass the test by guessing. What are you really trying to measure?

    The workforce commission and business lobbies are the only ones the legislature and senate listened to last session. That was quite obvious. Both education committee chairs do not care what the parents want or to hear our concerns. Who are in these committees? Lots of builders/construction companies. Do they have a vested interest in getting these schools turned into charters for their personal business gains?

    Why did we need a data protection bill to protect us from all these third party vendors selling our children’s personal information? Why do we need to protect ourselves from the practices of John White and the LDOE sharing this information with the likes of Inbloom and who knows who else. This has gone well beyond what the standards are. This is an all out assault on real public schools and a focus on privatization and more money for these charter operators. Why aren’t these charters held to the same standards? Why is the auditor finding so many issues with them? How are they spending public dollars and what happens with their buildings and property when they fail?

    We have lost our voices. You are supposed to be public servants and represent us. Do you actually think anyone stuck in the failing RSD has a voice? They have to go to Baton Rouge to try and get their schools back, but they don’t care and don’t listen. Who is on the BESE board? TFA, Charter people, CCSSO. We need to clean house everywhere. I am under the opinion now that everyone in Baton Rouge is against the people and are only out for their own profit, until you prove me wrong. That is what I came away with from this last legislative session.

    Go back to the basics and actually teach. Let kids reach their full potential. They are not human capital and they are not all the same. They learn at different speeds and different levels. This will bring everyone to the middle. If kids hate school in lower elementary because of the crappy math, do you really think they will like school when they get to middle or high school? Then what will happen to the graduation rates and the LDOEs other precious data? This is one heavily Gates funded experiment gone horribly wrong.

  16. Jade says:

    Common Core cannot be fixed. It must be scraped and LOCAL control given back to parents and school districts.

  17. Tara says:

    Raising the standards to a level equal to the rest of the Nation is definitely needed. I’m not sure if my child is having issues because of CC or just because it’s math… I have a “built-in” tutor (daughter’s brilliant college boyfriend) who she says explains it to her so much more clearly than the book or her teacher. She’s in honors classes in every subject in 9th grade and has always excelled. Time will tell on this one.

  18. RalphPierre says:

    KILL COMMON CORE

    The proponents of CCSS all tell us that Common Core is not dictating curriculum, only testing. Well, what would be on the test if not the Curriculum?

    Want more evidence that CC drives Curriculum?
    OK, here it is:

    PARCC CEO ADMITS GOAL OF TEST TO CONTROL CURRICULUM

    The federally funded Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a Common Core assessment consortium, issued a press release Friday that confirmed the Common Core standards and their associated tests are intended to drive curriculum.
    To read the rest of the story, go here:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/25/Common-Core-PARCC-CEO-Acknowledges-Goal-of-Assessments-To-Drive-Curriculum

    IF COMMON CORE LIVES, FREEDOM DIES.

  19. RalphPierre says:

    I have found that some of the most vocal opponents of Common Core are immigrants, or first generation Children of immigrants, who have come to the United States from Communist countries. They recognize Common Core for the threat that it is: Centralized Education run from the Left. This should be a GIANT RED FLAG for us.

    IF COMMON CORE LIVES, FREEDOM DIES.

  20. RalphPierre says:

    HOW THE COLLEGE BOARD POLITICIZED U.S. HISTORY

    The College Board, the private company that produces the SAT test and the various Advanced Placement (AP) exams, has kicked off a national controversy by issuing a new and unprecedentedly detailed “Framework” for its AP U.S. History exam. This Framework will effectively force American high schools to teach U.S. history from a leftist perspective. The College Board disclaims political intent, insisting that the new Framework provides a “balanced” guide that merely helps to streamline the AP U.S. History course while enhancing teacher flexibility. Not only the Framework itself, but the history of its development suggests that a balanced presentation of the American story was NOT the College Board’s goal.
    The origins of the new AP U.S. History framework are closely tied to a movement of left-leaning historians that aims to “internationalize” the teaching of American history. The goal is to “end American history as we have known it” by substituting a more “transnational” narrative for the traditional account.

    Read the full account here:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/386202/how-college-board-politicized-us-history-stanley-kurtz

  21. RalphPierre says:

    THE TROJAN HORSE OF COMMON CORE

    My fight against Common Core is not for my Children, it is for all Children. My opposition to Common Core revolves around this central belief:

    If Common Core Lives, Freedom Dies.

    Not only will Freedom die, but it will be the Children of Common Core who kill Freedom. Common Core education is a “Living Document”. Five years after full implementation it will not be recognizable as originating in an American foundation. Once fully embedded into our systems of education, it will slowly morph into what the Socialists and Educrats in Washington, D.C. want our children to learn…Socialism.

    Communism.

    And Parents will have NO avenue of appeal. They will already have had their control of education usurped by agencies and organizations outside of this state. Once the outside interests have control, these organizations will no longer hide their true agenda, and parents will be more than ignored, they will be castigated when they object. We already see this happening to us now. It will only get worse as local control of education is lost.

    We already have glimpses of these postulations, like a Trojan Soldier peering over the walls of his Machicolations at the Horse outside the gates. His own defeat is hidden inside of his “Prize”, and he willingly opens his defenses to accept it. Unlike the Trojan Soldier, however, WE are able to see what is inside the Trojan Horse of Common Core. We are NOT misinformed.

    We know what Common Core is, and we reject it.

    Postulations that these ‘initiatives’ will improve education are an unproven and controversial platform to say the least. And there are experts in Education who would, and have, proven otherwise. Links are easily found proving this…

    http://parentsacrossamerica.org/james-milgram-on-the-new-core-curriculum-standards-in-math

    http://foundedontruth.com/index.php/common-core-info/41-four-freedoms-of-common-core

    We are Free People. We intend to stay Free. We will NOT stop. We will NOT surrender. We will NOT accept Common Core. You do NOT understand who and what you are up against. You are up against Parents who will NOT surrender their Children to the black hole of Socialism.

    IF COMMON CORE LIVES, FREEDOM DIES.

    RalphPierre
    Lacombe, La.

  22. Anne Duke says:

    I teach at a local high school and am very concerned that what is emphasized by the proposed PARCC tests does not prepare our students for the ACT. This is the test that opens the door to a college education for our students, so why are we involved with anything other than preparing them for the rigors of that test and preparing them with the life skills they will need to be successful university students? Our parish already uses ACT “predictor” tests- the Explore (pre-ACT for 9th grade students), the Plan (pre-ACT for 10th grade students) and finally, the ACT for 11th grade students. Several years ago, I purchased an ACT prep system (for which I was not reimbursed- it was $400.00) to prepare my 11th graders for the ACT. Every day they would use one of the 30 books provided and complete an exercise. When all had finished, (usually 5-10 minutes into the class) we would discuss the correct answers. The students worked on everything from raw vocabulary, cold reading and answering questions and preparing a response to writing prompts. These activities were rotated so that all elements of the test were covered and were in addition to the material on the Guaranteed Curriculum required by our School Board. Most were very successful on the ACT given at school, many improving their performance on the test by 4-6 points over previous ACTs taken previously at their own expense. Many students were very grateful to take the test because they had not been able to afford the cost of the ACT on their own and upon receiving their scores, the opportunity to attend college became a reality rather than a dream for them.
    However, the curriculum also called for End of Course (EOC) tests to advance to the next grade level. My students were nervous because I did not provide them with study guides for that test. Their fears and anxieties were reduced when I asked them, “Do you think this test will be more difficult that the ACT?” All but 2 out of over a 100 were successful on the mandated EOC test.
    My point is that we are testing, testing, testing these students past the point of reason. They come to my class exhausted and stressed after testing for 2-3 hours at a time on any given day in April and May. And for what purpose? These PARCC,EOC and other tests do not open doors for them, but are used to evaluate school and teacher performance goals established by the Legislature!
    I can’t imagine what this sort of testing pressure is doing to younger students. It is unnecessary, expensive and unproductive. Children lose valuable instructional time in the classroom taking these tests. Will students be completely burned out by the time they get to high school?
    I have no problems with setting the bar for educational standards and student expectations extremely high. It’s what I do every day. What I do have a problem with is investing in expensive tests that mean nothing in the scope of a student’s education, that do not provide scholarship opportunities nor meet college entrance standard/requirements..
    I have not addressed the vocational track/training in this response because all students (with the exception of some special education students) are expected to take the tests I have discussed. We need high standards for Louisiana’s students to prepare them for higher education and careers, not a bunch of expensive tests! We should keep the high Common Core standards but scrap the expensive and meaningless tests that are “bundled” with them. Unbundle (and unburden) Louisiana schools!

  23. Morgan Wood says:

    Tim,
    Your ignorance on the subject is astounding. We parents of St. Tammany have been trying to educate you on this garbage initiative for the past year. Now you put up this blog as if you care. You sir, are a joke.

    • H. Kennedy says:

      Frankly I disagree. I don’t know anything about Tim or his political views but he is the only one who has sent me an email asking my opinion about something that is happening in my state and effecting my child in high school here. I’m more likely to applaud him that tell him he is a joke.

  24. Tim you asked for a report from the front lines. This is it! I am a retired teacher who writes a blog for teachers and parents at: http://louisianaeducator.blogspot.com/2014/08/commoncore-much-more-of-disaster-than.html. Just read my latest post and find out about how much of a disaster the Common Core is in New York. I speak to regular teachers every day and I can assure you that it will be an even greater disaster in Louisiana. By the way I had to sue State Superintendent White to get vital data that was kept secret even from you and other legislators.

  25. Donna Moynan says:

    Representative Burns:

    Thank you for giving concerned parents an opportunity to voice their concerns about Common Core.

    To see Common Core for what it really is, one need only look at the educational text and materials being used in class, such as “Revealing The American Experience – Understanding and Interpreting Our Past” by Samuel C. Hyde, Jr. and Donald R. Sanders – the textbook for dual enrollment American History class – Southeastern/Fontainebleau High School.

    I am a staunch opponent of Common Core. It is simply a vehicle through which the federal government will obtain control of the content taught in school, with NO accountability to parents. Herein I would like to discuss an American History class that my daughter is taking, which supports my belief.

    Sorry all, for such a lengthy explanation.

    My daughter is a Junior at Fontainebleau High School and attends a dual enrollment class for American History. The class textbook named above is a collection of essays which provides students clear examples of the negativity of the liberal academic school of thought.

    The animosity of these authors toward America is clear from the tone of their writings. Students do not get a full explanation of casually mentioned events, nor is the remedy of the event presented. Students deserve to form their own opinions based on all of the facts related to this country’s history, including mitigating circumstances and resulting remedies. To be fair, all issues should be considered from all sides. This book fails miserably in that respect. Opinions, after all, are personal judgments based on one’s own feelings, which may not be shared by all.

    Text from the preface of this book: “As our nation has progressed from one of limited vision benefiting the few at the expense of the many, to a more egalitarian society willing to explore the diverse cultural richness that is America, the study of history has reflected this change.”

    The founding fathers fashioned our Constitution on the principles of freedom – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all of this country’s immigrant citizenry, not a select few. To describe this nation, and thereby its founders, as having “limited vision” is a corrupted point of view that has been disproved by reality.

    The “…limited vision benefiting the few at the expense of the many…” has come full circle, only with different players. This phrase, as it applies today, represents the portion of the population perpetuating their lives on government assistance (the few) at the expense of the many (working rugged individualists who pay taxes). It is the government welfare beneficiaries who have limited visions of themselves these days. Further, the government has a limited vision of welfare recipients, seeing them only as voters to be used as political pawns. There’s a reason that people can only receive government benefits if they’re NOT working. If the government wanted these people to advance, this would not be the case.

    How many young African-American men have to die in their early 20’s from their families adopting government dependence as a lifestyle? I hope that history accurately records the connection between government dependency and the resulting limited life spans of young African-American men. This is the ugly truth and, sadly, no one is willing to address it.

    “The Mythmakers of American History” by Thomas A. Bailey (Book’s first essay.)

    Essay text: “We need only imagine how different our national history would be if countless millions of our citizens had not been brought up to believe in the manifestly destined superiority of the American people, in the supremacy of the white race, in the safety-valve “free” land in the West, in completely rugged individualism, and in the rags-to-riches dream of a millionaire’s lunch box.”

    The fact is that America was built on the backs of rugged individualists such as Rockefeller and Vanderbilt, whose perseverance elevated them from “rags-to-riches.”

    Excerpt from above:: “…superiority of the American people”?

    Americans cannot boast superiority, but we can be rightly proud of a country that provides opportunities for everyone who puts forth adequate effort to attain some degree of success. Lack of effort would be the main reason for lack of success in this country.

    Excerpt from above: “..supremacy of the white race”? At this grade level, students have already been educated on slavery and the social abuses that black people endured in the sixties.

    The beliefs of white supremacists, which led to segregation in the 1960’s, became unraveled by the peaceful demonstrations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the justified determination of people like Rosa Parks. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 brought about positive change, did it not? Americans knew that segregation was wrong, and that freedom applied to all citizens in every respect. America, therefore, righted the wrongs of the white supremacists by enacting civil rights legislation. Further, it appears to be a common presumption by liberal extremists that because the majority of the population was white, 100% of them were white supremacists. Along that line of thinking, one could also presume that 100% of black people are criminals because the criminal population is predominantly black. How much ill will exists due to incorrect assumptions such as these? Hello, Al Sharpton, purveyor of racial hatred?

    America currently has a black president and attorney general. Dr. Ben Carson is a black neurosurgeon. Clarence Thomas is a black Supreme Court Justice. The shop-owner who does my nails is from South Vietnam, and Louisiana’s governor is of Indian decent. These examples alone demonstrate that this country has left the notion of white supremacy behind. Once injustices are remedied, the angry opinions of the past no longer matter, including Professor Bailey’s.

    Another example of America righting social wrongs through legislation:

    Let’s revisit the issue of labor abuse by the early corporate industrialists (the wealthy few who prospered at the expense of the many laborers). America righted that wrong by enacting the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which introduced the forty-hour workweek, established a national minimum wage, guaranteed overtime pay in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors from “oppressive child labor.” (Paraphrased from Wikipedia.)
    The BEST part of America is that, through legislation, it has historically corrected what needed correcting.

    Essay text: “American children are indoctrinated with non-historical myths before they are hardly out of the bassinet. Santa Claus keeps small fry better behaved before Christmas, while the stork keeps them or used to keep them -from asking embarrassing questions between Christmases.”

    Does this statement even matter?

    St. Nicholas was a non-mythical historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of corruptions of the transliteration of “Saint Nikolaos”. (Paraphrased from Wikipedia.)

    Are people wrong to continue a tradition of gift-giving which brings joy to family and friends? Santa Claus is the American perpetuation of gift-giving in the tradition of St. Nicholas, who was no myth.

    As to the mythical stork, would a 5 or 6-year old comprehend the human sexual reproductive system? Some truths are best covered with children when they reach an appropriate age of understanding. This is called common sense.

    Essay text: “We excuse our sins, if excuse them we must, by pointing the accusing finger at the other nations, as was notably true of our countercharges when the U-2 spy plane went down in 1960, along with America’s holier than thou reputation.”

    Was the U-2 spy plane incident a significant historical event or just another event that a liberal professor felt the need to criticize? Were he alive today, I wonder how the professor would feel about the National Security Agency’s illegal surveillance and spying under the first black president’s administration? Perhaps he’d be willing to excuse that sin…

    And let’s compare sins, shall we, to support “America’s holier than thou reputation.”

    Warring native American Indian tribes fought each other over territory and savagely scalped their conquered victims, an exercise in brutality initiated by the Indians. Is there any evidence of early immigrant Americans taking anyone’s scalp?

    Germany exterminated human beings in ovens and gas chambers on the notion of Arian supremacy. Has America been guilty of treating any people so inhumanely?

    Japan aggressively attacked America in 1941, when it bombed Pearl Harbor. Has America been guilty of aggressively attacking another country by bombing it?

    Russia has invaded the country of Ukraine to take it over by force. Has America ever invaded another country and taken it over by force?

    ISIS militants in Iraq have been decapitating people? Perhaps some heads did roll in medieval Europe via the guillotine, but has America punished anyone by beheading?

    In my opinion, America’s sins do not even compare to those of other countries. America may not be holier than thou, but it has a proven record of being more civilized than thou, does it not? Is my opinion less important than that of the intellectually superior Professor Bailey’s?

    Essay text: “But much of our revisionism comes about as a result of a flare for novelty or a reaction against the monotony of repeating the eternal verities year after year.”

    This statement is an onion-skin-thin argument for justifying revisionist history. In other words, history should be re-written to avoid the monotonous repeating of actual true principles and beliefs, especially those of fundamental importance to this country. This is the view of a professor who wants change merely for the sake of change. To his statement I reply, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    It further appears that we should take no pride in the lessons of our “…star-spangled history textbooks, shaped as they are in part by patriotic pressure groups.” People who believe that the values historically held by this country are the best in the world have every right to feel patriotic.

    I was a proud American until this country elected a president on a mission to impose his own values upon the world and “fundamentally change” America. Our current president’s vision has fueled the violent aggressions of dictators like Vladimir Putin and groups such as ISIS, with the result being extensive and unnecessary loss of life. I would remind anyone who harbors hatred toward the constitutional values of America, that they are FREE to leave.

    The biggest lesson here for students is that Professor Bailey’s negative criticisms are ghosts of the past and have NO substance or relevance today. I do not consider his opinionated essay to be educational, enlightening, or pleasant to read.

    I approved my daughter taking this class with great reservation. I reviewed the books beforehand and saw that they contained essays by America-bashing liberal intellectuals. On the bright side, I will get to educate my daughter on the negativity of the liberal academic school of thought, along with the facts, so that she can come to her own conclusions.

    “Higher standards” are Common Core propaganda, nothing more.

  26. H. Kennedy says:

    Hi Tim,

    I’ve been very disappointed in Jindal and not just because he kept our state from getting federal money for health insurance. The last thing we need is lawyers filing ever-more lawsuits. That is one of the worst problems in this country and he is not only encouraging the scavengers but participating with them (and I believe it’s to garner attention for that presidential spot which he will NOT win. LOL)

    I can understand parents being upset about common core if their child is struggling. I’ve had two boys in Mandeville schools. The first struggled (without common core) and the second is doing fine (with common core). It is extremely important that Louisiana and all states keep up with the significant advances in knowledge obtained in recent years. Knowledge will continue to rapidly expand and if we want to be a part of the world vs. mere drudges who rest in the shadows of ignorance, we must keep up.

    This year I’ve noticed that almost all teachers are offering personal or group tutoring daily at no charge. For those who are struggling, this might help a lot. Also, hiring a personal tutor for your child, preferably someone in high school, could be a great solution and provide your child with confidence, support, and even friendship. My first son struggled with his weight and was bullied. He also had a.d.d,. undiagnosed, and got way behind in school. I am very grateful for the feds stepping in recently and doing the following:

    Making bullying ILLEGAL. No nonsense here – just putting a stop to it.
    Keeping the curriculum current and valid for our day and time.
    Demanding healthy lunches and snacks vs the slop no one ever ate anyway.
    Holding teachers accountable and making them do a GOOD job, like all the rest of us have to do at our own jobs, and must communicate with the parents about a child’s progress.

    Thankfully, parents are encouraged to be a part of our child’s schooling. Previously, we were discouraged and told we were being OVERPROTECTIVE if we tried to help our child. Now it is completely different and the way it should be. We can email the teacher. God if I ever tried to do that with my first son, it would have been considered overprotective. Glad those days are now long gone. Many children were damaged with that method. Teachers must now accept that they will deal with the child AND the parent helping the child.

    If your child is struggling with common core, first go talk to his counselor and then set up tutoring with the teachers and send them emails via teacherweb. Think about hiring a high schooler who might turn out to be a huge help to your child, including and just as importantly, moral support. The worst thing a child can feel is that they are a failure and a loser. No child is this. Every child is a gift to the world.

  27. Kay McLennan says:

    I am on the “side” of the “supporters [that] insist [Common Core] is essential to upgrade Louisiana educational outcomes, which we all know have been at the bottom or towards the bottom of rankings for decades.” Still, my guess is that the implementation of Common Core standards is nothing short of a travesty. In particular, my expectation (based on my extensive experience with higher education entities) is that K-12 administrators are giving up too much (both in terms of control and expenditures) to third party publishers/consultants for the needed Common Core curriculum materials. In contrast, my view is that Common Core could be a success if it is thoughtfully implemented, including the following.

    — Keep the standards but insist on “local” school board level (or even school-level) implementation.

    — Keep the standards but more as guidelines than “set in concrete” mandates.

    — Provide financial incentives for Louisiana teachers to create [and share] the needed Common Core curriculum materials.

    — Is year-round school a way to provide more time to teach the standards as well as a way to mitigate the typical “summer slip” in educational achievement (?).

    — Expand the utilization of online learning systems (known as learning management systems or LMSs) to leverage face-to-face classroom experiences.

    — Utilize emerging technologies to leverage face-to-face classroom experiences (see the Irish school children using virtual worlds and Oculus Rift headsets at http://technology.ie/irish-kids-create-virtual-world-explore-using-oculus-rift-video/).

    Again, my view is that the notion of Common Core educations standards is sound. Still, even sound standards need to be thoughtfully implemented.

  28. Terri Timmcke says:

    It is a shame that you have already characterized the STOP CC movement as purveyors of conspiracy theories and parents worried that their students might have to work hard !! And ,of course, to YOU…… the pro CC movement is all about rainbows and lollipops being used to fix another “crisis”. Hardly a good start for an honest debate.

    Do you plan to read comments and information posted here and join in the discussion….. or is this just “busy work” that will go nowhere?????

    IF you are serious about learning more about the COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS INITIATIVE, please read this well researched and extensively documented paper and come back with some questions or concerns you have. I will be glad to answer and provide more info. http://files.meetup.com/1387375/HSLDA%20CommonCoreTopicPapers.pdf

  29. Bernard Smith says:

    Forget common core! Let’s go back to basics. We have had theoreticians for decades advising how we should educate our children, and where are we? Ever tried to ask a student to multiply or divide or use fractions or decimals? I think reliance on some nationally imposed standard is a continuation of the tried-and-failed method. I graduated in the 60’s from Mandeville High and got what seems equivalent to post graduate work today. As opposed to your characterization of those opposed to Common Core, I champion those who oppose the slippery slope of a one-size-fits-all approach where, as usual, we find the behemoth Federal Government with its long nose under the tent. The less federal government control the better.

  30. Marla Baldwin says:

    Is anyone else growing tired of hearing that the CCSS are just higher standards? Some may argue that the CCSS are of high quality. It is the opinion of many that they are not. Instead, many child psychologists have found them to be complexly written and developmentally inappropriate (especially K-3), which makes the standards simply appear to be more rigorous. Therefore, it is unreasonable to expect the majority of students to meet these standards.
    The standardized tests aligned to the CCSS are not designed to just test students’ knowledge but rather, to test the method of instruction. If you don’t teach the methodology that will be presented on the test, then the students will not understand what the questions are asking or how to produce a passing answer. In order to prepare for these standardized tests, educators are being told they must teach using specific methodology. Methodology which has NEVER been tested or proven to be effective.
    These high-stakes tests are used to label students, evaluate teachers, and to give letter grades to schools. Some states that are ahead of us in implementation have labeled students as failures as early as third grade. Do you think that will encourage students to develop a love for learning? Meeting the goals of the CCSS on a standardized test will tell us nothing about the future success of a student, but an undeserved failure label will certainly do harm.
    Proponents of the CCSS often state that the standards are needed in order to compare our students to those of other states. What they fail to mention is the INVALIDITY of these standardized test scores after states manipulate them by the use of cut scores. It should also be noted that each state may adjust their cut scores however they see fit, which makes comparing scores between states a mute topic.
    The public needs to know that no one is coming to save us. Teachers can no longer protect your children from the dangers of this educational experiment. Our children’s futures lie in the hands of the parents who vote. Choose wisely.

  31. Darrell Duhon says:

    I and most in my family have spent our lives in education. Louisiana’s failures are not due to standards, frankly that’s ridiculous. You can set any impossible standard you want then pat yourself on the back and feel good about yourself. My first grader is being given word problems in math before they’ve taught reading. The real problems are a reflection of our society and its not PC to say that out loud. States that break from CC and replace it with developmentally sound standards will lead the way. Other nations track students, they don’t practice inclusion to the extremes we do, they actually discipline students… These differences are ignored because we won’t touch them.

  32. Brad says:

    I’ve been shown some of this concept and if I had children in school, I would pull them out of school and home school them. This is by far the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in the education system. Forcing students to take the scenic route when solving problems is absolutely absurd.

  33. RalphPierre says:

    PARCC CEO ADMITS GOAL OF TEST TO CONTROL CURRICULUM

    BATON ROUGE – On Friday, August 25, the federally funded Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) issued a press release where the Chief Executive Officer of PARCC Laura Slover revealed the true goals of the federally funded PARCC assessment – to control curriculum.

    Chief Executive Officer of PARCC Laura Slover said, “High quality assessments go hand-in-hand with high quality instruction based, on high quality standards. You cannot have one without the other. The PARCC states see quality assessments as a part of instruction, not a break from instruction.”

    The proponents of Common Core and PARCC continue to insist that tests and standards are not about curriculum, but that’s a ruse. Teachers already know that what is tested at the end of the year is what is taught in classrooms throughout the year.

    PARCC may not mandate one textbook or one pacing guide, but the CEO of the federally funded PARCC has admitted one thing: PARCC controls instruction and instruction is curriculum.
    Only 15 states are participating in PARCC. How does this mean we are comparing “standards” nationally?
    Proponents of Common Core argue that they are not attempting to control Curriculum. The truth is the opposite, the left leaning organizations that run Common Core from outside of Louisiana, flowing like a Big Stink out of Washington D.C., are setting the curriculum.
    On Friday, Aug 25, the Chief Executive Officer of PARCC Laura Slover revealed the true goals of the federally funded PARCC assessment – to control curriculum.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/25/Common-Core-PARCC-CEO-Acknowledges-Goal-of-Assessments-To-Drive-Curriculum

  34. TJ says:

    Education in Louisiana is abysmal. It would seem as if any change would be an improvement. The problem is that you cannot jump from 50th to a national average in a year. Until interested parents, teachers, administrators and politicians all decide on a improvement path, we will wallow around chasing an education that is currently only found in Louisiana magnet schools. If only every school received the attention that Louisiana’s esteemed magnet schools do…

  35. Dom says:

    This initiative MUST GO ASAP! Perhaps you’d like to have a meeting with parents, teachers and pediatricians from St Tammany parish to educate you? Many have provided fantastic resources below. To ignore facts and paint this debate as “emotional” or “suburban moms realizing our children aren’t as brilliant as we thought” is garbage! If you’re serious abt learning more and actually taking a stand for the people you represent I’m waiting for that meeting.

  36. Tim Burns says:

    I certainly appreciate everyone taking the time to offer their opinion about common core on The Balcony Blog. Several folks wanted to know my thoughts on the matter and. As of today, I haven’t reached a definite decision to scrap the standards, even though I feel that the problem areas need to be fixed. During the past legislative session, some of the common core bills to reach the House floor (I am not a member of the education committee) were authored by my colleague, Rep. John Schroeder, and provided for special assessment procedures for special education children and also prohibited data mining. Both of these measures passed and I voted for them.

    As I keep hearing viewpoints and gather relevant information, I’m going to keep my mind open if and when there is an actual bill to repeal common core on the House Floor. I suspect that if the governor is not able to win the lawsuits or defund common core, there will be an effort from the administration next session to repeal the common core standards.

  37. Vernon C Ray says:

    I stand very firmly with the National Center for Science Education in my support for the implementation of the Common Core education standards.

  38. Erin Bendily says:

    Thank you for soliciting information on this important topic, Representative Burns. Louisiana went through a very thorough review process to adopt the Common Core State Standards in 2010, involving ten different Louisiana education organizations, numerous reviewers, and several public meetings. All believed the standards represented an increase in rigor and opportunity for our students. Since the adoption of the standards, Louisiana’s educators and students have been working hard each year to transition to the higher expectations. This presentation offers a detailed overview of that process, from 2009 through the 2013-2014 school year:

    http://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/webinars/ccss-implementation—oct-2013-bese.pdf?sfvrsn=4

    We are excited about the progress that our educators and students have made, and we are committed to staying the course with them. Change is never easy, but we owe it to our students to strive for the very best education for them. They are just as capable as students in any other state. We are already seeing a tremendous improvement in the quality of teaching in the classroom, and also in student achievement. Now is not the time to revert back to lower expectations.

    To provide ongoing support in this last year of transition, the Louisiana Department of Education is continuing to provide a wealth of information for teachers and parents through newsletters, teacher trainings, and the LDOE website, which includes the actual Common Core standards, parent guides, instructional resources, our state transition plan, frequently asked questions, information on assessments, curriculum and assessment guides, and much more:

    http://www.louisianabelieves.com/academics/common-core-state-standards/louisiana's-transition-to-higher-expectations

    Some have recently questioned the way the state is scoring student assessments throughout this period of transition. LEAP and iLEAP tests have always been scored to mirror results Louisiana achieves on the National Assessment of
    Education Progress (NAEP), so as to provide a reliable basis for grading the tests. Results in Spring 2014 were no different; students scored roughly as they did on the NAEP. Here is a detailed fact sheet explaining how this grading is done.

    http://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/links-for-newsletters/scoring-statewide-assessments-overview.pdf?sfvrsn=2

    Again, thank you for gathering feedback on this important issue. We appreciate your commitment to the students of Louisiana.

  39. Scott says:

    Common core is not an intelligent choice. Had ALL the facts been available BEFORE the decision was made, I honestly believe that it would never have been chosen.
    Please kill common core

  40. Jennifer Harvey says:

    Common Core Standards were bought, and signed, sealed, and delivered before any taxpaying Amercian citizen really knew what was going on. YES. While Obamacare was taking the limelight, this was going on behind stage…purposefully.

    WHY would we allow our youngest most impressionable little people be subject to learning…and pressuring them to learn… Things that are so far beyond their developmental ability that they cannot grasp the concepts in math. The kindergarteners cannot read the questions or the stories for their tests. Children are coming home crying they’re stupid, dumb, can’t do this. This is here in St. Tammany at my kitchen table with my kids folks. Depression and anxiety in my older child. Fear of failure. Might at well just be average. Get C’s and have an average job…this is too hard. Well, I’d love to help you son, BUT WE CAN’T. WE DONT HAVE BOOKS to show you how. I’ve scoured the Internet for the correct way to do this Eureka math, scoured teachers blogs. But there is NO way to teach inferences and how to do thing like that; developmental skills that children acquire as they develop. Just like with walking…some kids walk at 9mos, some at 15 mos, but anywhere between there is normal. Reading…some kids read at 4, some 6 or 6…some in between. ALL NORMAL. Kids aren’t robots. We shouldn’t expect them to be.

    CC holds back the fast pace learners and leaves behind the slow paced. Also there’s no room for emotional weakness’.

    I am 1 mom speaking for many.

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