Louisiana Legislators Present Standards Bills April 2

This is a re-post of retired teacher Mike Deshotel's blog, Louisiana Educator.  I totally agree and include my comment supporting Rep. Richard's bill in principle.

The Common Core Bills; Tell Your Legislator What You Want!

Attention educators and Parents! The anti-Common Core and anti-PARCC bills are going to be debated in the House Education Committee this Wednesday. This may be your best opportunity to make your concerns known to your legislator about Common Core and PARCC.

In January, this blog encouraged all my readers to respond to a survey on the Common Core State Standards and PARCC. The results were as follows: A total of 2,724 readers responded to the survey. Only 61 respondents, or 2% said that Louisiana should continue implementing CCSS as has been prescribed by Superintendent John White with the approval of BESE. 709 respondents, or 26% said they would prefer that CCSS and PARCC be phased in over a longer period of time starting with lower elementary grades and progressing one or two grades each year until it covers all grades. 1,954 respondents stated that they would prefer to do away with CCSS and PARCC and substitute an improved version of GLEs as the standards for our basic core subjects. Louisiana would implement its own testing as has been done in the past.

Partly based on these results and my own opinion, I have written the following email to my State Representative. He is not on the Education Committee so I am writing to him about general issues involved instead of specific bills.

Dear Representative __________,
I am a retired educator who lives in your district.
It is my understanding that various bills relative to the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC testing will be debated in the House Education Committee this week. We do not know yet what bills on these matters will be sent to the full House for your vote. Based on a survey I conducted about CCSS and PARCC in January I would like to recommend the following for your consideration: Please support any bills that will put a stop to the PARCC testing which is scheduled to start in Louisiana next school year. These tests have proven to be unreliable and have failed 70% of the students who took them last year in New York state. Our students do not deserve to be subjected to these unfair tests. In addition, I would like to ask you to vote for any legislation that will remove Louisiana from participation in the Common Core State Standards. Again, these standards are untested and may not be appropriate for our students. I and my colleagues would prefer that Louisiana continue to use and perfect its own standards unique to the needs and preferences of our educators and parents.

Michael Deshotels

That email represents my opinion and that of the great majority of the educators and parents who responded to my survey. If you feel that Common Core and PARCC are good for Louisiana, by all means please feel free to write to or call your legislator to express your opinion. Let's all participate in the democratic process.

Now here are more details on this matter that my blog readers will find useful in making their final decision on this matter:

As a last ditch effort to save their cherished program, our State Department of Education has produced a financial analysis claiming that it will cost us millions if we back out of Common Core 

now. They know that our cash strapped legislature is looking for any way to avoid increasing costs to the state budget so this is now the best argument for keeping the Common Core.

Common Core and PARCC. It was a real bargain to get into it but now its going to cost us a fortune to get out of it! That's the conclusion by our Department of Education. Don't believe a word of it. All we have gotten from our LDOE in the last two years since John White took over as Superintendent in our state is pure propaganda. Why should we believe this latest joke of a financial analysis? State Treasurer, John Kennedy has repeatedly pointed out that our Department of Education has numerous expensive contracts with consultants and companies that could be canceled saving us millions of tax dollars. That would be more than enough to pay for a return to Louisiana standards.

It totally amazes me that it should cost Louisiana one penny to simply drop this boondoggle of a program that only promises to cost us hundreds of millions to implement over the next few years!

Why do I say hundreds of millions? That's because if we continue this foolish rat race that is called the Common Core State Standards we will soon reaffirm what we already know. That is that Louisiana will rank near the bottom of the PARCC performance ranking compared to other states. (but wait: we already knew that based on the NAEP test. We know that we will rank second to last, just ahead of Mississippi because we rank just ahead of Mississippi in student poverty.)

But the plan is this: Once our students fail the PARCC test, we will have to rush to purchase more test prep services and allow more charter schools and approve more vouchers to allow more students to escape our “failing schools”. And then even when the students don't perform any better (or perform worse!) in the charters and voucher schools, our Superintendent will still find that it is OK because it is soooo important to give parents choice!

Look at how many were choosing the New Living Word voucher school even though it was not 
providing an education and the minister who had appointed himself principal was charging taxpayers an arm and a leg.

Pearson, the Great Briton based educational services company which helped control the development of the PARCC test and designs all sorts of software, and test prep materials designed for the PARCC will be extorting millions from Louisiana for both the testing and the test prep materials. Microsoft, boss Bill Gates who spent two billion dollars funding the development and selling of the Common Core stands to reap billions from services related to the Common Core. Apple will be selling us thousands of Ipads preloaded with test prep materials. Some companies will be selling us virtual courses that will take our MFP dollars so that some students can pretend to study common core at home using virtual courses with our tax dollars. Meanwhile our public schools will be laying off teachers and cutting salaries and benefits so they can afford to keep up with all the other states in buying more Common Core prep materials. This is all about the corporate takeover of public education! None of this will make our students better citizens, nor will it prepare them better for the workforce or make them better “human capitol”.

I just want to remind my readers that none of this Common Core material was tested in the classroom by real teachers. None of it is known to make students smarter or better because it is just a theory that has barely been tried with real students. None of the executives of the big companies like Exxon-Mobil who have endorsed Common Core have any idea what the standards are. (See this Advocate story) They have never even read the standards. I have read the standards and find them confusing, ambiguous, non-specific and not at all appropriate for many of our students. But what do I know? I've just devoted my whole life to the teaching profession! The leaders of big business support them because they were told by Bill Gates that these standards were more “rigorous” and that they would 
make their potential employees better and more efficient workers. But no one has the slightest idea whether that will happen because this system is just now being tested on our kids where students are 
simply being treated as guinea pigs and the teachers will be blamed if this latest hair brained program does not work.

Readers, this may be your best chance to have your voice heard by our legislators. Send an email now to the members of the House Education Committee (Just click on this link) to get the Representative who represents your Parish giving him/her your recommendations on Common Core and PARCC. (If you click on an individual's name you can get his email and office phone #)

Here are the bills that are scheduled for the House Education Committee this Wednesday, April 3:

HB 163 by Burns, HB 558 by Henry, and HB 996 by Schroeder would prohibit the use of the PARCC test and continues LEAP instead.

HB 988 by Schroder allows the State DOE and BESE to continue setting statewide content standards but permits local school boards to develop and implement their own curriculum content and methodology instead of that which is recommended by the LDOE.

HB 381 by Geymann creates a Louisiana Standards Commission to replace CCSS with state standards.

HB 1054 by Richard requires the teachers in all public schools and voucher schools to take the CCSS tests (this is really the PARCC test for Louisiana) prior to administering these tests to students.

Here's the deal:

  • If you want to stop using Common Core standards and PARCC testing in our schools and if you 
  • want the state to use a special commission made up of state educators and parents to set standards, to be implemented only after approval by both Houses of the Legislature, you should ask your State Representative to vote for HB 381 by Geymann. This bill would provide for assessments based on the new standards which would no longer need to be based on national standards. Special education students would be allowed to take an alternate assessments.
  • If you want to stop Louisiana from using the PARCC test, and to remove the language in the law that now requires us to use national standards in our K-12 schools, you should ask your State Representative to vote for either HB 163 or HB 558 or HB 996. These bills however as they are presently written would not necessarily prevent our LDOE and BESE from adopting changes to our GLEs that would possibly mirror the CCSS.
  • If you are willing to let the State DOE and BESE to continue setting standards including the implementation of the Common Core but you want your local school system to have more flexibility on curriculum and methodology you should ask your State Representative to vote for HB 988 by Schroeder.
  • I honestly don't know what to tell you about the Richard bill (HB 1054) which would require teachers to take the PARCC before the students do and then would inform the legislature of teacher opinions about the test. I think the bill might accomplish more if it required the legislature and BESE members to take the PARCC before we even consider giving it to our students. Look what happened in New York where 70% of the students failed PARCC!
No matter what you believe in about the Common Core standards and the PARCC test, if you don't express your opinion and ask your legislator to vote your way, then you probably deserve what will happen to you as Louisiana continues on the path to full implementation and testing of CCSS. Don't 
complain if you don't exercise your democratic rights!

lbarrios said...

The Richard bill is a good one in lieu of ending HIGH STAKES standardized testing, which is optimal. These tests should only be used as diagnostic indicators for teachers and schools to base instructional decisions on, not as punitive weapons to flunk students, fire teachers and close schools. The purpose of having teachers take and analyze their own grade/subject tests is to help them in aligning their curriculum and in class lesson plans to make sure they cover standards required and to provide expert analyses of these tests so that are a fair and equitable reflection f student learning. We have gone too many years now, since NCLB introduced consequential accountability, administering these mysterious tests that teachers and parents never get to see before if after administration and grading. Education is not a mystery. Teachers need the proper resources to guide them. Students need to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Parents need assurances that their children are being prepared for these tests and that the tests are accurately measuring what they claim to be designed to measure. If these high stakes tests continue, the issue will be moved to the courthouse and yet more taxpayer funding will be expended to prove that high stakes national testing is unreliable and invalid for these punitive purposes.

Two Louisiana Student Privacy Bills Compete

This is a re-post of a blog by Stephanie Beard comparing two bills introduced in the Louisiana legislative session relative to parental concerns about student data privacy.  It is very thorough and useful for others in presenting testimony or communicating with these committee members.

Rep. John Schroder from St. Tammany Parish is the man of the moment for parents having introduced a student privacy bill that is responsive to every concern including the lies and misrepresentations of State Supt. John White - which have been well documented to the committee. His bill was introduced to a House Ed.

Senator Appel from Southeast Louisiana parishes including Orleans and Jefferson, is the Senate Ed Chairman (My Way or the Highway, Jindal bud, ALEC member, reformee. . .)  who introduced a totally unacceptable faux privacy bill.

The two committees will meet again this Wednesday with amendments for hearing.

Sen. Appel’s SB449 and ALEC Model Legislation

We will not remain silent.
“If education is beaten by training, civilization dies…” C.S. Lewis
I’ve never gotten involved in trying to affect legislation or anything that involves the workings of our legislative process.  For far too long I could have been described astrusting:  Trusting that the people and groups who call themselves “conservative” have my best interests in mind as they fight for and against legislation that would affect my small world.  Trusting that they – as sworn defenders of the Constitution – would do just that: defend the Constitution.  Defend my rights and yours, and those of our families.
No more.  NoLongerSilent.net addresses my growing disillusionment over the last year since beginning research on the Common Core Initiative and all its trappings.  My previously held beliefs about the major political parties have been challenged, and the one I’ve always belonged to has, unfortunately, come up lacking.
Wednesday held a first for me.  I went to the Capital building in Baton Rouge to speak up in favor of a bill that a St. Tammany Parish legislator filed in an attempt to get a handle on student data privacy.
Rep. John Schroder of Madisonville, Louisiana filed HB946 this session, which came for its first consideration on Wednesday morning before the House Education Committee.  This bill contains strong provisions for student data privacy and parents’ rights in protecting that privacy.  It’s a very restrictive bill, enumerating a lot of the rights for which parents should never have to ask the legislature in the first place because they areGod-given rights – not something that government (federal, state, or local) gives or takes away at will:  the right to protect our own children’s privacy.
Superintendent John White threw monkey wrenches in the way in his attempt to jettison this bill, and meanwhile – down a couple of corridors and downstairs – Senator Conrad Appel of Metairie 
engaged in his own monkeying and wrenching.  Several of us felt compelled to attend his hearing, thus leaving the House Education Committee meeting after speaking there.
Senator Appel’s bill, SB449, pretty much follows ALEC model legislation, only his version happens to be even worse than ALEC’s.  I know – I didn’t think that was possible, either.  Apparently, it is entirely possible.
Here you can read ALEC’s version; and here you can read Senators Appel and LaFleur’s.  These are the Amendments that came in on SB449 on Wednesday:  SB449-AMENDMENTS
Notice that ALEC names its model bill, “Student Data Accessibility, Transparency, and Accountability Act.”  I know – hard for me not to snort every time I read it, too.  Sen. Appel named his, “Privacy and Protection of Student Data.”  More snickers, I know.
Sen. Appel’s bill compares almost directly to ALEC’s, only his leaves out certain things ALEC’s includes that could – under different circumstances – almost be palatable.  (And, no, Senator – we won’t be appeased by substituting the ALEC version at the last minute to suit your purposes.)
SB449 contains numerous less-than-reassuring references to FERPA, renames a few terms used by ALEC, adopts ALEC’s suggested appointment of a state Student Privacy Czar, and changes virtually every possible accountability measure into something that, well, — isn’t.
Senator Appel riddles his bill with exceptions and “unless” clauses that weaken every measure one might get excited about reading but for them.  Here’s an example.  The ALEC model includes this provision (emphasis added is mine):
Districts shall not report to the state the following individual student data: 
(1) juvenile delinquency records; 
(2) criminal records;
(3) medical and health records; and
(4) student biometric information.
Schools shall not collect the following individual student data:
(1) political affiliation; and
(2) religion.
Here’s Sen. Appel’s (emphasis added is mine):
Unless included in a student’s educational record, student data shall not include:  
(i)            Juvenile delinquency records,
(ii)          Criminal records, 
(iii)         Medical and health records,
(iv)         Student Social Security number,
(v)          Student biometric information.
Sen. Appel’s fails to mention any prohibition of collecting political or religious information.  Did he think we wouldn’t notice?
Sen. Appel adds a provision, §4053. A., mandating that BESE develop and oversee implementing a privacy and protection policy for student data.  Then, part B of this section sets up the supposed transparency part of the Act, namely, that BESE will make some kind of index of data elements publicly available.  The index supposedly will let us know what types of individual student data are kept in the database, along with the purpose for collecting it, as well as what data they have for no “current purpose or reason.”  Not exactly comforting.  But let’s keep dissecting.
SB449 §4053 C. (1)(d) includes another ALEC subpoint that looks to retroactively sanction the state’s data sharing agreements with the state’s workforce commissions (in this case, Superintendent John White’s agreement with the Louisiana Workforce Commission), and the 
language in this bill even adds “memorandums of understanding” to ALEC’s version that limits the verbiage to “interagency data-sharing agreements.”

From there, Sen. Appel’s bill goes into a series of “unlesses” that scream, “This allows BESE to completely undo everything that looks good in this paragraph!”  We know, of course, that they will do so.  BESE has a history.
§4053 D. (3) glares out at us as one of the most obviously egregious provisions of Sen. Appel’s bill.  I’ll paraphrase this one as: Student data deemed confidential in this Chapter may absolutely be transferred toany federal, state, or local agency or “other entity outside” Louisiana if a “student registers for or takes a national or multistate assessment.”  This is not even limited to a stated educational purpose, folks – not that that would be any better, as we know we couldn’t trust our kids’ laundry with these people, much less their personal confidential information.
I cannot emphasize enough the dangers inherent in this one sentence alone! 
Realize that Governor Jindal and John White, through BESE and the LDOE, pushed through their agenda to make taking the ACT a requirement for every Louisiana student who wants a high school diploma.  Consider all the other tests they are now requiring kids to take.  (And Governor Jindal said last week that he doesn’t like one-size-fits-all testing?)
Then, think about these four points.  (1) If a student follows the rules (because he wants a high school diploma – and who doesn’t), and registers for the ACT, his confidential data will most likely be transferred to anyone Baton Rouge wants to give it to – by law!  All it takes is for BESE or LDOE to interpret this provision as allowing it because the ACT is a “national” assessment, and it’s administered in every state.  (2) If a student sits for those PARCC multi-state, CCSS-
aligned tests mandated for Louisiana students next school year, his confidential data will be 
transferred to anyone Baton Rouge wishes to give it to – by law!  (3) Consider all the other 
“assessments” that BESE has mandated every student take (such as the expanding “ACT series”) by tying them to School Performance Scores (SPS), teacher evaluations, district scores, and student promotion. Could these be construed as “national” or “multistate” assessments? (4) Consider all the other “multistate” or “national” assessments/tests of which you can think.  Has your child taken the NAEP, for instance?
If your child takes, or even registers for without taking, one of those tests, this bill gives authority to the state to “transfer” “student data” to whomever they wish.  We already know that some students were signed up for the Course Choice program without requesting to do so last year.  
Next, the bill provides for this same transfer of confidential information if a student participates in any program “for which such a data transfer is a condition or requirement of participation.” So, all BESE needs to do is add — by policy — a data transfer requirement for, say, the Jump Start “career” education program John White introduced recently.
Would our LDOE sign kids up (register) for tests without parental requests or consent?  Who could put it past them?
Make no mistake.  This bill gives to the least trusted people in our state government — carte blanche — the right to give or sell our children’s confidential information without our consent.
The next paragraph would have BESE make guidelines for authorizing access to “individual student data.”  Then the bill omits the ALEC suggested provision for data encryption and 
safeguards.  Guess he thought we wouldn’t see that, either.
Then there’s this about “complaints” regarding enforcement or violations:  complaints must be 
made and remedied in accordance with FERPA.  As we all well know, FERPA is now toothless.
The next two major provisions in the bill can only be described as insidious.  The first one says that any newdata items that BESE or the LDOE would like to collect and share would be routed through the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) – not through the legislature.  After the fact, BESE would give an annual report to the legislature.
In case you don’t know, the APA allows arms of government to do what they want, write it all up, put it on the state’s website for 90 days for public comment, hold a hearing between 35-45 days after posting notice, then it becomes the rule that we all must follow.  Oftentimes, they later go to the legislature to get them to codify what they’ve already done or are doing.  (It’s very much the way things happen in D.C., as well.)  They do this so that — in order for the public to be engaged, informed, and involved — we must watch every single action of every single state agency through the Louisiana Register, rather than the single elected entity, the legislature.  That way, they get to claim that public notice was given, nobody should have been surprised, nobody filed any complaints, nobody spoke out against what they said “publicly” they were going to do.  It is a way to bypass elected bodies and implement whatever policies they wish.
Please understand that this is how BESE and LDOE have gotten away with most of the recent crafty changes that they’ve made in Louisiana education.  This is precisely how we got all those “accountability” rules, too.  Very quietly.  By design. 
If they don’t have to have legislative approval – as would have been required under the original 
version of Sen. Appel’s bill, before Wednesday’s amendments – then they once again get to bypass voters.  This is just one more example of the legislature’s giving away their authority to 
BESE (of which not every member is an elected position) and LDOE.  These folks don’t want any opposition.  Very slick to make this change by amendment that was distributed at the time the bill 
was taken up in committee on Wednesday, so that there would be very little time for those of us who were there to absorb and react to it.  Very slick indeed.
That second major provision I mentioned creates a new BESE-appointed position called a “chief privacy officer.”  The Privacy Czar in SB449 would have the job of monitoring “emerging and evolving technology” and then recommending “policy changes” to ensure “privacy and protection of student data.”  The Czar would also ensure legal compliance.  Want to venture a guess as to how these “policy changes” would become rules?  Yes —  the APA.
The ALEC version adds several additional duties for the Czar that one might expect a public servant to have.  Sen. Appel’s bill omits these duties.  I guess he thought them unimportant.
The last paragraph in §4053 is one not contained in ALEC’s.  Sen. Appel’s says that any data elements/itemscurrently being collected by the data system would not have to be vetted to the legislature. The APA would be sufficient for those.  Note also that BESE could grant exceptions regarding release of student data, and not have to explain any of those for an entire year.  Outrageous.
Finally, §4054 prohibits the use of Social Security numbers as student identifiers – after the 2014-15 academic year – and qualifies even that by saying that “a postsecondary education management board” canabsolutely use SSNs for, among other things, “workforce training activities” and “accountability measures.” So, yes, they apparently are using SSNs as student 
identifiers currently, and some arms of the state can continue to do so.

This horrendous bill also omits the last sections that ALEC’s provides that would have included the right for parents to inspect their child’s educational records at the school, to request data from their child’s records, to receive an electronic copy of their child’s educational record, and the like, 
and to receive annual notice of these rights.  (I admit that, arguably, this portion could have been omitted because it could be addressed elsewhere under another legislative topic.  But I doubt it.)
Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up!  Please read this bill (or for those in other states, your own ALEC-modeled bill) and you’ll see for yourself the truth about what Senator Appel — a consummate education reformer — would do with our children’s confidential information.
An op-ed in The Advocate on Saturday gives Senator Appel’s response to Wednesday’s Senate Education Committee hearing as
. . . he was exasperated that inflammatory rhetoric had so swamped efforts to rationally improve Common Core.
He was incensed?
And did you notice that the distinguished senator himself — not parents — linked parental concerns over their children’s data privacy to Common Core?
video of mom Sara Wood’s pointed statement to the Senate Education Committee against SB449 has circulated widely since Wednesday.  That video disappeared from YouTube for a few hours when the mom who posted it had her YouTube account wiped out for her.  That someone 

would do this speaks volumes.
And here’s the volume that I hear:  The elitist reformers fear us.  They fear that they have been found out, and that we are on to their schemes.  They fear that they still do not have all the hearts and minds of America.  They fear our voices.  They fear that we will get our message out before 
they can completely silence us by removing all elected forms of government, and replacing them with their form of “governance.”  (Oh, yes, Elitist Reformers, we do know that term.  I wasn’t kidding – we are on to you.)
But why?  Why fear us?  Because they will lose being looked up to and respected by those who respect theoffices or positions they hold. They may not be elected to the next taxpayer-funded office, or get that coveted position among the board of a taxpayer-funded so-called “public-private partnership.”
They currently disbelieve that we mere mortals would dare question them.
It boils down to this:  they fear us because it means a loss of power.  A loss of control.  And so they react nastily by marginalizing us and attempting to “Delphi” us.
Here is my message to the elitist reformers of our country.  We won’t stop.  We will continue finding all the things that you do and have done to eliminate your accountability to the public by putting layers of unelected bureaucracies between yourselves and voters.  And we will continue to expose you and your plans, because we will no longer be silent.

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Fallacies Or Conspiracies?: NAEP, PISA & ACT/SAT Tests

This was written in response to concerns by some legislators who are working with their constituencies (finally) to sponsor bills for this Louisiana legislative session that will remove our state from the flawed policies associated with the adoption of Common Core Standards.

  Of primary concern is the argument that comparisons of NAEP (national), PISA (international) and ACT (College Readiness) test scores show Louisiana and/or the United States have failing public education systems.  There has been much evidence offered to discount these claims with little success.

  This latest report published by The Brookings Institute is so clear and convincing that I offer it to Louisiana policymakers and legislators along with my personal dialogue and plea for their consideration as they conduct hearings and debate whether or not to withdraw from the Common Core Initiative and return public education policy to our state.

The proposal by new College Boards President David Coleman to "align" ACT/SAT tests to the CCSS should place those tests under the same scrutiny.  The FEAR purposely planted in the minds of policymakers and parents that changes to the ACT and SAT make CCSS adoption imperative are just as baseless as the general contention that ANY single standardized test score is a valid or reliable measure of a student's academic ability or potential.

* * * * *

 PISA has been used to promote Shanghai as a model of equity since 2009.  In hundreds of pages discussing equity, PISA publications have never even mentioned hukou. 

The following excerpts from the complete report found at the above link and include my analysis of the consequences and mandates for moving forward.  

"The results of the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) were released in December 2013.  The test is administered to 15-year-olds every three years by a division of the 
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris.  Scores were reported in math, reading, and science for more than sixty nations and subnational jurisdictions.  The top scoring participant, as in 2009, was Shanghai-China in all three subjects.  A controversy erupted concerning Shanghai’s participation in PISA. A series of Brown Center Chalkboard essays took part in the debate.[i] "

What is Hukou and how are PISA results so distorted that international comparisons are invalid?  The larger question is, what is the agenda for those who hold out the PISA test as an 
indicator of international standards for education quality!  You can bet it is economically driven AND  that elitism and racism are OBVIOUS factors.  

"Reforms in Shanghai became famous because of PISA.  Shanghai’s PISA test is run by the same 
official who advanced the reforms.  That sure sounds like a conflict of interest.  Moreover, the 
Shanghai Municipal Education Committee is responsible for enforcing the hukou system’s education 
restrictions.  Dr. Zhang served in a leadership capacity on that body.  No wonder PISA documents are silent on the negative effects of hukou.  The larger lesson concerning governance and policy recommendations applies to every PISA participant.  Governments demand policy guidance from an assessment that looks at how well the policies that they themselves have enacted are functioning.  It is difficult to be an impartial referee while also playing in the game."

This WARNING explicates the exact problem with the Common Core Initiative. David Coleman, the architect of CCSS, has been in control of the Common Core Initiative at every level and in every aspect - standards, curriculum, testing and NOW as President of The College Boards (SAT).  The conflict of interest inherent in this grand plan to standardize our children is undeniable and the hope that "this plane will be built correctly while being flown" is baseless.  

Why does United States hold out PISA as an indicator of educational standings? 

"In the U.S., the National Assessment of Educational Progress administers a national test and reports results.  Analysis is primarily conducted by independent consumers of the data.  Officials from NAEP or the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) do not speculate as to why particular states score at the top of NAEP league tables or recommend that states adopt particular policies to improve their performance.  It is strange that the U.S. participates in an international test that violates the constraints it imposes on its own national assessment."

Arguments supporting education "reform" in America have ALL been based on claims that American students must be competitive both nationally and globally.  NAEP and PISA test statistics have been incompletely and inaccurately reported by those promoting reform in order to build their SINGLE basis for the need for their method of education reform - fabricated 
wholesale failure of our system of public education.  NAEP statistics have been presented exclusive of the variables necessary for a useful analysis - socio-economic status (poverty) being a leading indicator.  Now we see undeniable evidence that the same inequities are applied in using PISA stats.  

Promoters of Common Core Standards and its TWO proposed national tests will use the SAME false stats produced by comparing states using student test scores but denying the invalidity of those comparisons because of the many variables that will not be taken into consideration - arguably the two most compelling being poverty and different state-set cut scores.  

There is no HONEST justification for the wholesale condemnation of traditional public education.  It is time that we move from the NCLB failed policies of TESTING instead of TEACHING!  There is great economic benefit to be had from the privatization of public education by both for-profits and non-profits in the BUSINESS of K-12 education, but money gained by these privateers/profiteers equals money lost for sustaining and improving educational opportunities FOR EVERY CHILD who walks through the doors of a public schoolhouse!  

The creation and adoption of Common Core Standards and its associated high stakes standardized tests, PARCC and SBAC, are seriously flawed extensions of previously failed policies promulgated by THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and its corporate elitist political funders that are unfortunately driving education reform policy.  

We must return to a focus on researched, tested and proven educational standards and policy that promote child-centered curriculum and address the individualized needs of a diverse population.  It must be acknowledged that students enter the classroom with individually 
acquired sets of knowledge, cultural influences, socio-economic variables and individually defined potentialities.  Standardized and strictly paced curricula and a one-size-fits-all nationally standardized testing regime that CANNOT adjust for these individualized variables should be rejected,  and policies should be developed collaboratively at the state and local levels by qualified and experienced practicing educators from pre-K through college level.  

More White Lies from Louisiana

My letter to all members of the Louisiana House and Senate Education Committees:

Ladies and Gentlemen of House and Senate Education: 

When legislation regarding PARCC assessments are presented before your committees, this information will be useful to prevent John White from pulling the wool over your eyes. I hope you question him about these misrepresentations published daily by Superintendent White. 

 Posted below you will see one of the Daily Sample Test Questions that John White emails to subscribers.  

Misrepresentation #1: White refers to PARCC Common Core Assessments as "Louisiana's new assessments." Nowhere do you see the words Common Core or PARCC.  

Fact:  these are sample test questions found on the PARCC website. Here is the sample test question as John White publishes it:

Here is the same sample test question found on the PARCC website:

Misrepresentation #2:  White attributes these "new assessments" and then,  by association,  these sample test items to Louisiana educators.

 These new assessments were developed with significant input from Louisiana educators who have served as key partners in identifying content for the test, developing the specific items, and guiding the technology specifications.

Fact:  Louisiana educators did not write the PARCC test nor the sample assessment items nor did they have "significant input,"  "develop specific items," or guide technology specifications (whatever that means).  If White were being honest and efficient he would simply direct teachers to the PARCC website where they can review all items at the grade level and subject they need and the LDOE would save taxpayer money by not wasting his employees'  time reconfiguring these test items and posting on a daily basis.  You will find all sample assessment items on the PARCC website here:

Why is John a White misrepresenting the source of these sample assessment items?  

8th grade ELA Sample Question March 13:

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March 13, 2014

In order to ensure Louisiana students are prepared for college and Louisiana's economy, our state is moving to higher standards and new assessments.  The Louisiana Department of Education will highlight one sample question each day to help Louisiana educators and families preview Louisiana's new 2014-15 assessments.  These new assessments were developed with significant input from Louisiana educators who have served as key partners in identifying content for the test, developing the specific items, and guiding the technology specifications.

Today's sample question is from 8th Grade English Language Arts.  In this question, a student will be asked to read a passage and use context clues to determine the author's meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary words.

To view today's 2014-2015 Sample Question for Thursday, March 13, please click here.

As each sample question is highlighted, it will be posted on the Department's website.  To view questions posted by date, please click here.

To view all sample questions released by grade for English Language Arts and math, please click here

To try out sample test questions using the same online format students will use to take the test, as well as view online tutorials demonstrating the tools available to students, please click here.