Reaction to change in Common Core is positive

St. Mary Parish Superintendent Donald Aguillard

By JEAN L. KAESS jkaess@daily-review.com

Reaction to the changes to Common Core standards pushed by state Superintendent of Education John White and approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Tuesday is positive.
—St. Mary Superintendent Donald Aguillard:
“Changes approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education provide much-needed time for districts to transition to (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing in 2015. The 10-year phase-in of moving the accountability bar from basic to mastery should help all to understand that expectations are being ramped up for public education and that it will take time to prepare our students for this shift.
“High schools will continue to rely on the end-of-course test rather than shifting to PARCC. Coupled with the use of the ACT test as a component of high school accountability, it will be used to measure school efforts to prepare students to be career or college ready.
“Districts will be responsible for establishing promotion policy for fourth graders in 2014 and 2015. I am just beginning to receive guidance regarding what types of waivers will be acceptable. St. Mary will develop a local waiver policy that will require non-proficient fourth graders to attend summer remediation and will likely include similar promotion polices like other non-high-stakes grades.
“I have not yet received any guidance on how Value-Added Model teachers will be evaluated other than we will use their Student Learning Targets rather than student scores as a component of their evaluation calculation.”
—Buffy Fegenbush, Berwick High School principal:
“Standards and accountability are needed in every industry. This is even more important in the area of education — as we are dealing with the community’s most valued commodity — its children. However, standards should be fair and understood by everyone involved. Slowing down the implementation of common core standards and choosing the appropriate curriculum that best reflects these changes takes time. We were not being given that time before — now we are. It was unfair that educators and students were being judged on evaluative tools that were not even fully created at the time the decision was made to use them. It is hard to prepare for the unknown.”
—Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin:
“Common Core itself is just a set of standards. I’ve always had a problem with the way they implemented them. I think they’re listening to the public … I think it’s a step in the right direction.”
—Louisiana Federation of Teachers Director of Public Relations Les Landon:
“We’ve been saying for months and months that the Common Core implementation is seriously flawed. Teachers, students and school districts haven’t been prepared. The state did not give curriculum info that they promised … We’re very pleased that they are delaying the impact.
“However, during the delay, we need to make sure serious questions are answered,” he said.
Otherwise, “it’s like trying to build an airplane while it’s in flight.”

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