House Deal Would Change Louisiana Common Core Review

louisiana-state-flag-2There are plans underway to review the Common Core State Standards in Louisiana.  Under a deal reached with a bill, HB 373, sponsored by State Representative Brett Geymann (R-Lake Charles) there would be additional steps added to the process including legislative and Gubernatorial oversight.

The Advocate reports:

Under current plans, four committees of roughly 100 educators and others are reviewing Common Core in classrooms now for possible changes.

Recommendations are supposed to go to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, without formal legislative input.

Geymann’s bill would change the review of Common Core in three ways.

It would:

Require BESE to hold public hearings this year in all six congressional districts to allow citizens a voice in the benchmarks that Geymann and other critics say they were unfairly denied.

Allow the state House and Senate education committees to review changes recommended by BESE by March 4, 2016, and take all-or-nothing votes on the modifications.

Permit future governors veto authority on the changes, also all or nothing.

The House Education committee passed the bill and it will face a vote in the full house next week.  Typically review and replace bills are met with a tepid response by Common Core opponents, but with the current legislative make-up and being unable to pass repeal bills out of committee this appears to be the best bill Common Core opposition can hope for this session.

Geymann told the Advocate that the bill gives the Common Core some of what they were asking for.

Geymann and others contend the plan is part of a three-bill package that answers many of the demands of Common Core opponents.

“It gives us an opportunity for the public to be engaged,” the lawmaker said in an interview outside the committee room, moments before the debate began.

“There is committee oversight,” Geymann said. “There is governor veto potentially of the standards. … It is all the things we have been asking for.

“There are three hurdles that it has to go through. There is about as much transparency as you could ask for.”

The Common Core bill compromise which includes the unanimous passage of HB 373 out of the House Education Committee is a victory.  It is an important  step in a path that leads to the removal of Common Core from Louisiana by allowing our state to once again have control of its own standards.  One of the most important steps in that path will occur when Governor Jindal signs HB 373 into law,” Anna Arthurs, an activist with Louisiana Against Common Core, told Truth in American Education.

Fortunately, we have a governor strongly opposed to Common Core and our state not be in the same situation as New Hampshire which saw its governor veto their bill to remove Common Core.  Regaining control of our standards and having an opportunity to develop new ones in a transparent process with legislative approval should allow our state to once again have excellent standards and not just a rebrand of the developmentally inappropriate Common Core State Standards,” Arthurs added.

The Advocate reports that the Governor’s office has concerns about the deal.

While the veto would apply to future governors, Jindal is concerned that a future chief executive could leave Common Core intact merely by vetoing changes recommended during the review process.

“Secondly, there is concern about the commission set up by BESE to come up with new Louisiana standards because some believe it is filled with Common Core supporters,” Kyle Plotkin, Jindal’s chief of staff, said in a prepared statement.

Jindal, a former Common Core backer turned opponent, leaves office in January, well ahead of the time when he could review any suggested changes.

Even if this bill passes whether or not Louisiana ends up with a rebrand or significantly different standards will still remain to be seen.