Jindal's office releases PARCC pull out information - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Jindal's office releases PARCC pull out information

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BATON ROUGE (KNOE 8 News/Jindal Press Office) – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal sent a letter to the Partnership of Assessments for College and Career Readiness (PARCC) asking the organization to immediately withdraw from the State of Louisiana. Governor Jindal issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to begin a competitive process to purchase a new assessment and called on the Department of Education and the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education to develop Louisiana standards for the Legislature to approve next legislative session.

The Governor said the state is no longer committed to implementing the PARCC assessment in the 2014-15 school year, rendering it unable to comply with the terms of the June 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between the State and PARCC. In addition, several changes have occurred since the MOU was signed that make Louisiana’s membership in conflict with Louisiana law. He also cited teacher dissatisfaction and concerns over one-size fits all federal standards, and highlighted that the federal government has rushed its implementation.

Governor Jindal said, “It's time for PARCC to withdraw from Louisiana. We won’t let the federal government take over Louisiana’s education standards. We’re very alarmed about choice and local control over curriculum being taken away from parents and educators. Common Core has not been fully implemented yet in Louisiana, and we need to start the process over. It was rushed in the beginning and done without public input.

“Additionally, proponents weren’t up front about federal involvement in PARCC and Common Core. Now that we understand the federal overreach involved, we need to slow down and make the right decision. Some Common Core proponents suggest that we cannot have high standards without Common Core. That is a false statement. We need a Louisiana test that ensures children are performing at high levels so they can compete not only around the country, but around the world. We can certainly have high standards without giving up control of Louisiana’s education system to the federal government.

“If other states want to allow the federal government to dictate to them, they have every right to make that choice. But education is a primary responsibility of states, and we will not cede this responsibility to the federal government.”

The Governor said the MOU does not allow for a competitive bid process for the test, which is required under Louisiana law. Additionally, other vendors have entered the market that offer comparable assessments at lower costs and allow greater input from, and accountability to, the states that hire them. Louisiana law requires the state to choose the lowest cost responsive bidder.

As a result of these conflicts, the Governor took the following actions to ensure that Louisiana maintains control of its assessments and complies with its own laws:

1. Issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to conduct a competitive process to purchase a new assessment and which prohibits the expenditure of funds on cooperative group purchasing organizations and interstate agreements;

2. Suspended the rules adopted by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from May 2014 to ensure that the Louisiana Department of Education is able to comply with Louisiana competitive bid law;

3. Instructed the Division of Administration to conduct a comprehensive accounting of all Louisiana expenditures and resources on PARCC, what services or products have been received in return for such expenditures, and copies of all contracts in place or in negotiation for the purchase of an assessment;

4. Issued a Request for Information to PARCC requesting information about the procurement processes utilized by the consortium, by the Fiscal Agent state, and by the Lead Procurement State to ensure that these processes complied with Louisiana law;

5. Notified the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA) of Louisiana’s termination of participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

The Governor sent the following letter to PARCC outlining these actions:

June 18, 2014

Dear Commissioner Chester,

This letter is to request that the Partnership of Assessments for College and Career Readiness (PARCC) immediately withdraw from the State of Louisiana. The State of Louisiana is no longer committed to implementing the PARCC assessment in the 2014-15 school year, rendering it unable to comply with the terms of the June 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between the State and PARCC. In addition, several changes have occurred since the MOU was signed that make Louisiana’s membership in conflict with Louisiana law.

First, PARCC's Cooperative Agreement with the United States Department of Education (USDOE) includes terms that would remove Louisiana's control over its assessments, and thereby its curriculum and pedagogy. While PARCC has assured states that curriculum is a local matter, the reality is what is assessed is what is taught and PARCC has a funding agreement with USDOE for $186 million. Laws enacted during the 2014 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature specifically authorize local education agencies to develop curriculum, content and methodology in lieu of any curriculum developed by the state board and prohibit the sharing of identifiable student information.

Second, there are several other vendors who have entered the market and who are now offering comparable assessment products at potentially lower cost and with greater input from, and accountability to, the individual states who hired them. Louisiana law requires the state to choose the lowest cost responsive bidder and to maintain control of the contract through which state taxpayer dollars will be expended. Neither of these criteria is met under the contracting arrangement of PARCC through a Fiscal Agent and/or Lead Procurement State.

Third, several of the RFPs issued on behalf of PARCC were done so by other states, without the opportunity for Louisiana to ensure that these processes were handled in a method that complies with Louisiana’s competitive bid law. Louisiana’s MOU with PARCC and PARCC’s Cooperation Agreement with USDOE require PARCC to utilize competitive bid processes that comply with the laws of each member state and federal law.

Fourth, strict compliance with the MOU will prevent Louisiana from observing its competitive bid law for the procurement of the assessment itself. Louisiana law prohibits public procurement units from entering into cooperative purchasing agreements “for the purpose of circumventing” the Procurement Code (La. R.S. 39:1708). The MOU states specifically that each Governing State must agree to use the PARCC tests and to adopt them into its accountability and teacher evaluation systems, which is against Louisiana law if done without a competitive process. Louisiana cannot be a member of a cooperative purchasing agreement that requires, as a condition of membership, it buy the agreement’s product, especially before the product was even developed, and at an unknown cost at the time of execution.

Therefore, I have taken the following actions to ensure that Louisiana maintains control of its assessments and complies with its own laws:

1. I have issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to conduct a competitive process to purchase a new assessment and which prohibits the expenditure of funds on cooperative group purchasing organizations and interstate agreements.

2. I have suspended the rules adopted by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from May 2014 to ensure that the Louisiana Department of Education is able to comply with Louisiana competitive bid law;

3. I have instructed the Louisiana Division of Administration to conduct a comprehensive accounting of all Louisiana expenditures and resources on PARCC, what services or products have been received in return for such expenditures, and copies of all contracts in place or in negotiation for the purchase of an assessment.

4. I have issued a Request for Information to PARCC requesting information about the procurement processes utilized by the consortium, by the Fiscal Agent state, and by the Lead Procurement State to ensure that these processes complied with Louisiana law.

5. I have notified the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA) of Louisiana’s termination of participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

I will pursue cancellation of this MOU through all means necessary.

Sincerely,

Bobby Jindal

Governor

The Governor also issued the following Executive Orders:EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. BJ 2014 - 7

STATE PROCUREMENT OF ACADEMIC ASSESSMENTS

WHEREAS, Article VII, Section 14 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 expresses the prohibition that “the funds, credit, property, or things of value of the state or of any political subdivision shall not be loaned, pledged, or donated to or for any person, association, or corporation, public or private.”;

WHEREAS, elements of this constitutional prohibition reveal themselves in statutory mandates that public bodies conduct competitive procurement processes designed to promote public confidence in the cost and quality of goods, ensure transparency by requiring public notice, and safeguard the important public policy that public funds – always derived from taxpayers – be spent wisely;

WHEREAS, the Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are each subject to the Louisiana Procurement Code (La. R.S. 39:1551, et seq.), the laws on Professional, Personal, Consulting, and Social Services Contracts (La. R.S. 39:1481, et seq.), and other laws applicable to procurement by public bodies;

WHEREAS, the Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education joined the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (“PARCC”) and committed to purchase PARCC’s assessment product before the product was even developed and to utilize its Common Core aligned assessment product and adopt them into its accountability and teacher evaluation systems, without giving due consideration to the development of other comparable assessment products and thereby failing to undertake a transparent, competitive process;

WHEREAS, pursuant to La. R.S. 39:1708, the Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are prohibited from entering into a cooperative purchasing agreement for the purpose of circumventing the laws governing procurement;

WHEREAS, participation in PARCC does not exempt the Department of Education or the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from following other Louisiana laws, promulgated rules, or Executive Orders applicable to the procurement of goods and services by purchase, contract, or by cooperative endeavor;

WHEREAS, the chief procurement officer of the state has authority, pursuant to La. R.S. 39:1597, to determine that only one source is available to provide a required item. However, the determination that PARCC is the sole source of assessment products appears to be precluded in this case, as there are a number of potential competitors with assessment products available for review and comparison, making the use of a transparent, competitive process possible;

WHEREAS, Louisiana Revised Statute 39:1497 requires that the director of the office of contractual review determine that all professional, personal, consulting, or social services have complied with the procedures set forth in La. R.S. 39:1481, et seq.;

WHEREAS, in accordance with La. R.S. 39:1596, Executive Order BJ 2010-16 establishes procedures for the procurement of small purchases not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) as exempt from the competitive sealed bidding requirements of the Louisiana Procurement Code, with purchases exceeding that amount requiring competitive sealed bidding and adequate prior notice;

WHEREAS, the Legislature, during the 2014 Regular Session, has appropriated approximately $20,000,000 for the Department of Education to purchase these assessments for the 2014-2015 fiscal year commencing on July 1, 2014, and the expenditure of such a large amount of taxpayer-funded public funds clearly carries with it the responsibility that a transparent and competitive process be utilized.

NOW THEREFORE, I, BOBBY JINDAL, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:

SECTION 1: The Department of Education and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are directed to undertake a transparent, competitive procurement process in accordance with Louisiana law to obtain academic assessments for Louisiana’s schoolchildren.

SECTION 2: The Division of Administration is directed to conduct a comprehensive accounting of all Louisiana expenditures and resources related to PARCC, what services and products have been received in return for such expenditures, and copies of all contracts or other agreements in place or in negotiation for the purchase of an assessment. The Division of Administration is further directed to ensure the Department of Education and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s compliance with Louisiana law in the procurement of academic assessments for the 2014-2015 school year and subsequent years.

SECTION 3: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and officers of the state of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate in implementing the provisions of this Order.

SECTION 4: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 18th day of June, 2014.

/s/ Bobby Jindal______________GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANAATTEST BYTHE GOVERNOR

/s/ Tom Schedler_________SECRETARY OF STATE

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. BJ 2014 - 6

BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION –SUSPENSION OF STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT STANDARDS AND PRACTICESRULE REVISIONS

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of Article IV, Section 5 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, as amended, and La. R.S. 49:970, the Governor may issue an executive order which suspends any rule or regulation adopted by a state department, agency, board or commission within thirty days of adoption; and

WHEREAS, on February 20, 2014, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education published a notice of intent in the Louisiana Register of proposed revisions to Bulletin 118—Statewide Assessment Standards and Practices (LAC 28:CXI.113); and

WHEREAS, on May 20, 2014, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education published a final notice in the Louisiana Register to adopt revisions to Bulletin 118—Statewide Assessment Standards and Practices (LAC 28:CXI.113); and

WHEREAS, the revisions to Bulletin 118—Statewide Assessment Standards and Practices (LAC 28:CXI.113), broadly construed, inappropriately instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to purchase assessments in a method that may not be compliant with Louisiana law, while also appropriately allowing the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to authorize paper assessments in the 2014 – 2015 school year.

NOW THEREFORE, I, BOBBY JINDAL, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:SECTION 1: The revisions to Bulletin 118—Statewide Assessment Standards and Practices (LAC 28:CXI.113), published as a final notice on May 20, 2014, are hereby suspended.

SECTION 2: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is authorized and directed to implement a process to authorize paper assessments in the 2014-2015 school year.

SECTION 3: The Louisiana Department of Education, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and any other departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the State of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to comply with the suspension of the revisions to LAC 28:CXI.113 of this Order.

SECTION 4: This Order is effective upon signature and shall remain in effect unless amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 18th day of June, 2014.

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