Louisiana Business & Industry Leaders Chastise Parents & Denigrate Teachers

Why would business and industry presume to know what is best for parents and schools regarding curriculum?

Why would business and industry choose to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting a reform agenda that educators and parents are voicing such great opposition to?

Why aren't leaders of business and industry investing their enthusiasm and money directly into our schools to improve the learning experience rather than in  advertisements and lobbyists that counter the expertise of educators and the researched,  tested and proven pedagogy that make schools successful?

Why do leaders of business and industry choose to denigrate our teachers, our parents and our democratically elected school boards like Bridgitte Neiland of LABI did when speaking before the St. Tammany Parish School Board in opposition to an overwhelmingly supported Resolution to remove Common Core and PARCC testing from our district?

Why are leaders of business and industry biting the hands that feed them by attacking the public school systems that hire their services to build our schools, feed our children, purchase our materials and technology?  St. Tammany Parish Schools are the largest employer in St. Tammany Parish.  Our employees and parents in turn use their services.

Why do leaders of business and industry choose to prey on local and state taxpayer dollars to train their workforce through John White's Course Choice initiative rather than offering direct assistance to our schools and our students looking for jobs by providing their own training programs which will put money back into their own pockets anyway?

Why do leaders of business and industry "Believe" that poorly trained, unqualified and inexperienced non-certified personnel like Teach For America Corps can provide the quality and level of instruction using a Common Core script that highly qualified, certified teachers of this state can provide?  Why do they support the expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars to TFA, The New a Teacher Project and New Schools For New Orleans to serve as an expensive employment agency in replace of our Department of Education?

Do the leaders of business and industry want to hire CEOs, CFOs, project managers, engineers etc from a Business a Leaders for America Corps?

I re-post this message from a teacher friend:

My Response to the LABI's Praise for Common Core: Your Opinion Means Little

October 12, 2013 at 11:00am
I read Will Sentell’s article on the one-sided meeting of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) which heaped praise on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) being implemented in Louisiana. I am frankly tired of business leaders claiming to be experts in educational matters when it is highly unlikely any of the persons quoted in the article have explored the CCSS in any detail.

I have proudly taught math and social studies for twenty-two years in Louisiana schools, both private and public. I received mentor-training from a National Math Teacher of the Year and have training in writing curricula, but I would never presume to instruct Pat McCarthy, the manager of corporate citizenship at ExxonMobil, on how to do his job. Yet the LABI and the various speakers are supporting a new system that is untried, untested, and unsupported by research data to show it will produce the results it promises. To quote Dr. Ze’ev Wurman, who served on the California commission to decide on adopting Common Core and who opposed its weaknesses for his state, CCSS is the “Emperor without clothes.”

If CCSS is malleable and any state can create their own curricula to meet it, why has Louisiana adopted Engage New York as its standard? It organizes math material in disjointed ways, isolating topics that naturally fit together, and it resulted in abysmal scores during their first round of testing: a 70% failure rate. Instead of designing our own curricula, Louisiana has adopted New York’s failure.

I will agree with Rose Kendrick, an LSU employee who provides professional development for teachers, in saying that Louisiana math standards needed strengthening. The CCSS have hardly done that. Dr. R. James Milgram served on the feedback committee to develop the CCSS, and he testified before committees in both Texas and Indiana that “there is no good reason to adopt Common Core Math standards… They are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and only fall further behind as they talk about grade 8-12.” How will this fix the problem of our sons and daughters not being able to compete with the world?

CCSS was flawed from its very inception when it banded together twenty-four persons from ACT, Achieve Inc, the College Board, and Student Achievement Partners to revamp how grades K-12 are taught in the US. Not one teacher with valuable classroom experience or expertise in crafting standards assisted in writing the CCSS.

So the next time the LABI speaks out in support of CCSS, I will politely give their opinion the miniscule weight it deserves.

Sincerely, Vincent P. Barras

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