The recent decision by Gov. John Bel Edwards to drop an appeal of former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s lawsuit challenging Common Core standards was the right move.
Jindal’s lawsuit was little more than a political stunt in an election year, and U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick was correct when she ruled last fall that standards are not the same thing as curriculum.
A panel of educators has just completed its revision of Louisiana’s education standards, which must now be approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the governor and the legislature’s education committees.
Standards are the things that we expect students to lean in each grade, but they are just one piece of the education equation.
Teachers must have an appropriate curriculum for each standard. That means textbooks, learning materials and teaching strategies that are aligned with the standards. Common Core’s biggest failure in Louisiana was that it was sprung on teachers and their students without those necessary resources.
Testing is also a piece of the puzzle. Standardized tests should be designed to both measure educational progress and show educators where additional learning strategies need to be implemented. Like the curriculum, it must be aligned with the standards. Testing should be an extension of teaching and learning, and not an excuse to label and blame.
The Common Core debate in Louisiana often lumped standards, curriculum and testing into one confusing bundle. With the inclusion of a political agenda, that made a rational, intelligent discussion of the issues very difficult.
Hopefully, the adoption of Louisiana standards will be helpful to the discussion about how we deliver education to the children of our state. But unless we pay close attention to the alignment of standards, curriculum and testing, and unless we provide teachers and schools with all of the resources they need to successfully implement the standards, we will be right back in Baton Rouge asking our leaders what went wrong.