The debate continues: top education officials tackle Common Core

Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 12:56am

It's one of the biggest debates going on in Louisiana right now. It's Common Core, and the new set of standards for our students has everyone taking sides, including Louisiana's top education officials.

They met Friday to get down to the core of the problems people have with these new standards.

It's the big question. It's the big debate. Will Common Core work? Donald Andrews is the dean of the school of business at Southern University. He said he doesn't have a problem with the new standards.

"That the program in terms of goals and objectives, I don't think anyone disagrees with," Andrews said.

But he questions how it will work?

"I think it's the implementation process that's the issue," Andrews said. "If you look more at the poor parishes in Louisiana, they may not have the resources to create the learning environment that's going to allow the students to achieve Common Core."

That's why State Superintendent of Education John White and President of Louisiana Federation of Teachers Steve Monaghan came to the Louisiana Leadership Summit to put these ideas on the table for discussion.

"When communities start asking questions about what is this, and how will it effect my child?" Monaghan questioned.

Forty-five states have already adopted the Common Core standards, and that's why White said he wants Louisiana to catch up. Charity Welch agreed.

"Because we needed more challenging standards for our students across the country to be college and career ready," Welch said.

She's helped implement Common Core in states across the country.

"If we don't get it right this time, we're going to have the status quo, and we're going be here doing the same thing a few years down the road," Welch stated.

But Monaghan wants to know, is it fair?

"Most people know that communities aren't all equal. Most people know that communities aren't always viverant in offering the same opportunities or their parents," Monaghan said. "If we want to compare like Massachusetts, we can, but then we have to do what they've done, we have to invest like they invest."

Something everyone can agree on, the community has to come first.

"And the superintendent, I agree with him, whatever is implemented, has to be implemented very carefully and slowly, with full community awareness and support," Monaghan said.

The superintendent said by 2025, Common Core should be completely phased in.

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