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The concerns of Common Core

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - If the movement to bring Common Core into Louisiana public schools had a face, it would be John White. Louisiana adopted Common Core in 2010, when White was not the Superintendent of Education.

However, he’s been very influential in the implementation of Common Core.

“The reason I believe in it is real simple. I believe Louisiana's kids are just as smart and just as capable as any child in America," White said.   

Essentially Common Core is a set of uniform standards. Under Common Core, what was traditionally taught in sixth grade will now be taught in fifth.  And it also uses a more hands on approach to learning as opposed to a traditional lecture setting.

Louisiana is using  PARCC to test those standards, which is a timed computerized test.  

Arguments against Common Core include its uniform approach. In an ideal world, everyone would learn and understand at the same level. But in reality that doesn't happen. Common Core dictates one standard across the board.

'I don't like one shoe fits all, because it doesn't,” Louisiana State Senator Bob Kostelka said.

"You set but you can change standards and tweak them and make them fit situations," Louisiana State Senator Francis Thompson, said.

"You have those great talents, but we are talking collectively about all of our kids, and any kid shouldn't be lagging behind." State Senator Mike Walsworth said.  

There is also concern about the gap year; it's an almost immediate grade jump in what a child should know.

"They can't miss the instruction that they are supposed to receive that year, even though it’s been moved down. But you can't neglect to get them to the next grade,” Brenda Deason with the Ouachita Parish School System said.  

And there is worry teachers are not prepared for the new standards.

'Every teacher I've talked to says it’s moving too fast, give us time to catch up," Kostelka said.  

'And making sure that the school system has the time, necessary funding and necessary support to enforce those (standards)," Thompson, said.

White argues educators developed Common Core. Even so, some say there is no evidence to prove the reform actually works.

"It’s like flying an airplane and building it at the same time,” Kostelka said.

Even though Common Core began as a state led initiative, there is also concern about education becoming too centralized.

"The facts are very clear on this. The federal government is not involved in the curriculum. The federal government is not involved in setting standards. This is not a federal initiative,” White said.   

“It wasn't drawn up by a bunch of governors like the way they talk about. It is drawn up by a national consortium. And if you follow the money that company is making big bucks out of the PARCC test,” Kostelka said.  

And since PARCC is computerized, there are questions about what skill set is really being tested. 

“If the student doesn't know how to operate the computer properly and type and things like that then it would be more difficult to take the test," Mary Duzan with the Ouachita Parish School System said.  

Even though White admits all the concerns are valid, He said Common Core is as simple as wanting better education and a more competitive workforce for the state of Louisiana.

For more in depth information on Common Core visit http www.corestandards.org or www.louisianabelieves.com.

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