Judge rules Louisiana schools will use Common Core tests as public support for standards wanes

BY Kyla Calvert  August 20, 2014 at 1:08 PM EST
Video still by PBS NewsHour

A state judge in Louisiana has ruled against Governor Bobby Jindal’s executive order to suspend Common Core in the state. Video still by PBS NewsHour

A Louisiana state judge has ruled against Gov. Bobby Jindal’s efforts to suspend the state’s contract to use Common Core-aligned tests in public schools next spring.

By suspending the contract with an executive order earlier this summer, Jindal could have single-handedly removed Louisiana from the group of more than 40 states where schools will be using the Common Core State Standards for math and English this year.

But Judge Todd Hernandez ruled that Jindal’s order left teachers, students and parents not knowing what year-end tests to prepare for as the school year started.

“The evidence is clear that this state of the unknown has caused anxiety and other harm to the parents, teachers, administrators and students in Louisiana,” he wrote in his ruling Tuesday, according to The Advocate newspaper.

The governor’s office plans to appeal the ruling.

The standards set skill and learning goals for students at each grade level in those subjects and focus on developing critical thinking, problem solving and the ability to form arguments or make guesses based on evidence.

Proponents of the standards argue these are the skills that students need to be ready for college and career. They also say they were largely missing from the hodgepodge of state-specific standards that existed before the Common Core was introduced in 2010.

However, a growing chorus of detractors say while the standards were developed and adopted by states, federal support for the guidelines and funding for the tests that go along with them amount to an encroachment on states’ right to run their public schools.

While Jindal suffered a setback in court this week, Common Core opponents seem to be gaining ground with the general public. A Gallup poll out Wednesday found among the 80 percent of adults who have heard of the Common Core, just 33 percent support the standards.

But NPR points out that another Common Core poll released this week by an education journal, Education Next, worded their questions differently and got different results: about 53 percent of their respondents supported the standards. That, however, still signals a decline in support — the same journal found about 65 percent of adult supported the standards in 2013.

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