New look at common core debate

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 3:14am

Baton rouge native Sakinah Abdul-Aziz was an athlete, and a gifted student at McKinley High School. When she got to college at Southern Illinois University this fall it was a wake up call.

"It shocked me,” She said. “I was being placed in a remedial class."

She explained math was never her best subject, but the placement was completely unexpected.

"I never thought about it until I got into college that I'm not prepared for college," she described.

Now she's advocating for lawmakers to keep a set of standards she believe will make sure students here in Louisiana are ready for college.

"I totally support common core," She exclaimed.

She said common core gives student direction.

She said, "Common core I feel that it will push for students to be able to be challenged, and they'll be able to know whether or not they are ready for college course."

This legislative session, several bills are on the table that connect to both sides of the common core debate. Including, issue of removing common core from Louisiana. Supporters of Common core are concerned that could hurt children’s future chances.

“Moving away from common core state standards means taking away from students the opportunity for a better life. If we can’t compete with students from around the
United States, then we certainly can’t compete with students from around the world where our petition lies,” State Senator Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, said.

Education advocates question if common core is removed for new standards, what would those standards be.

"If you start from zero where is zero. That’s the answers that will have to carefully be listened too during this legislative session," Steve Monaghan, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, said.

Some leaders in the education community say the debate over common core is far from over.

"If we are going to compare them [students] to the progress made in other states then shouldn't we make sure we are comparing them fairly,” Monaghan said. “And, we are not comparing them to children in other states that have had a great deal more in the way of opportunity."

Sakinah Abdul-Aziz wants lawmakers to put politics aside and put education first.

"I want them to look at each individual student as if they were their own child,” She said. “And, think if my child was not prepared for college how would I feel. "



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