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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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Review of Louisiana education standards begins Wednesday

Review of Louisiana education standards begins Wednesday

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — For more than a year, disputes over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools have been largely philosophical. Now, they're about to get technical.

A legislatively-created standards review committee begins its work Wednesday at a Baton Rouge hotel, created to comb through the grade-by-grade English and math benchmarks to determine which ones should be kept or tossed or tweaked.

The Common Core standards have been adopted by more than 40 states as a way to better prepare students for college and careers. Opponents say the standards are developmentally inappropriate and part of federal efforts to nationalize education.

Louisiana's review committee contains teachers, other educators, school administrators, higher education officials and parents. It will submit its recommendations to the state education board in February after public hearings are held around the state in Shreveport, Alexandria, Crowley, Covington and New Orleans.

"The students of Louisiana deserve the best education possible, and we will be working together to draft high-quality standards," said Regina Sanford, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the St. Tammany Parish school system and the person selected by the state education board to chair the 26-member review committee.

Sanford wouldn't say whether she supports the Common Core standards, describing her opinion as "of no value one way or the other" in the larger unbiased review that she pledged would take place.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, known as BESE, had planned a standards review process, but state lawmakers placed it into statute as part of a deal brokered earlier this year to end legislative disputes over Common Core.

Both proponents and opponents of Common Core have said they are pleased with the review process put in place.

"There is no incentive for this panel not to do a good job," said BESE member Jane Smith of Bossier City, a Common Core opponent.

Whether the review will jettison Common Core or only make modest adjustments remains unclear. The panel could suggest any number of changes, additions or deletions to the standards.

The education board will decide in March which recommendations from the review committee to adopt, and those proposals will go to the House and Senate education committees and the governor for review.

The legislative committees and the governor will have the ability to reject the standards in an up-or-down vote, not a line-item veto of individual standards. If the revised standards are rejected, Common Core stays in place.

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