Early last month U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) said that he strongly supports the Common Core in his state putting him at odds with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who signed an executive order pulling his state out of Common Core and PARCC, only to have that action blocked in court. Jindal has since filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education based on their tying Common Core into the Race to the Top grant and ESEA flexibility waivers.
Vitter’s going the wrong direction on Common Core said to the Associated Press, “I support the strong standards Louisiana now has in place and think Gov. Jindal’s attempt to start from scratch right before the new school year is very disruptive.”
Louisiana activists launched an open letter late yesterday found at ReconsiderVitter.com urging Vitter to reconsider his position on the Common Core. It reads:
We, the People, of Louisiana are writing to ask that you reconsider your August 1, 2014 “strong support” of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) in our state. Your statements are in obvious and direct conflict to those you expressed in a recent fundraising letter in which you pledged to “protect our citizens… from heavy-handed big government education policies like Common Core.”
If you believe Common Core is just about standards, then you are misinformed. The structure of this initiative includes: two sets of mediocre academic standards (Math and ELA) intended to stretch across the nation; two standardized assessments funded and reviewed by the federal government; and detailed data systems directly accessed by the U.S. Dept. of Education that will track students from preschool to the workforce. These components, of which the Common Core Standards are part and parcel, are inextricably linked via a myriad of signed agreements and contracts with the federal government, other states, and private organizations and corporations, arising from our commitments to the Race to the Top grants and No Child Left Behind waivers. For the reasons set forth in theJoint Statement Regarding the National Governors Association’s Common Core Standards Initiative and the Constitutional Structure, dissolving these ties is the necessary FIRST step in returning the control of public education in Louisiana, solely to Louisiana citizens.
The PARCC high stakes testing is a tool that will allow the U.S. Dept. of Education to effect the national curriculum that you think Louisiana should avoid. PARCC has already agreed to promote “tightly aligned curriculum materials”, which is simply doublespeak for “teaching to the test.” PARCC’s contract with the U.S. Department of Education clearly requires that it “allow access” to the federal government of any and all student data they collect. We will not allow our children’s privacy, safety, and futures to be jeopardized by releasing their personal and private information at the behest of a big brother federal government. Please protect our children from greedy corporations that want to use this information to develop market strategies that will be used to program our children to fit into their centralized planned economy.
Furthermore, as detailed in the Joint Statement, the Common Core Standards are of poor quality. They operate as a floor and a ceiling, locking children into an inferior education. They are rife with age-inappropriate standards. And they will widen the achievement gap.
In 2015, we will be seeking a gubernatorial candidate who stands with children, parents, teachers, and others in opposition to the CCSSI or any other form of nationalized education. More federal intrusion will not restore freedom or bring lasting solutions to our educational challenges.
We stand ready to assist you in your quest for the TRUTH regarding the scope and intent of the Common Core Initiative. Your decisions on this matter will define your legacy.Please join thousands of citizens, parents and teachers across Louisiana to restore the power of the state, defend the authority and rights of parents to direct the education of our children and preserve our constitutional republic.
Louisiana residents and out-of-state activists are encouraged to sign the letter.