Apparently, taking former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s advice to “rebrand” the Common Core standards without repealing them, Louisiana lawmakers are considering how their state may keep Common Core in its schools while convincing parents and taxpayers that their math and English standards are no longer the nationalized ones being used in the other states that have adopted Common Core.
According to NOLA.com, while several state legislators are predicting that Louisiana won’t “roll back” the Common Core standards, Rep. Walt Leger (D) said he would not be surprised if state lawmakers simply change the name of the initiative to circumvent the controversial Common Core’s image problem.
“We will probably do something really silly like changing the name of it to something else” to get around opponents, Leger said.
Florida, Arizona, and Iowa have already “rebranded” the names of the nationalized Common Core standards in response to opposition.
Last November, Education Week‘s Andrew Ujifusa observed that Huckabee served as keynote speaker at a conference of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the creators of the Common Core standards and one of the groups that owns the copyright for the standards.
“Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat,” Huckabee told CCSSO members.
In December, however, Huckabee told his Fox News audience, “I don’t support what Common Core has become in many states or school districts.”
“Look, I’m dead set against the federal government creating a uniform curriculum for any subject,” Huckabee told his audience. “I oppose the collection of personal data on students that would identify them and then track them, and certainly any effort to give that personal information to the federal government.”
Louisiana state Sen. Conrad Appel (R), a strong supporter of Common Core and chair of the Senate Education Committee, said the standards are expected to be one of the hottest topics in the upcoming legislative session.
“There’s a lot of misinformation [and] hysteria,” Appel said.
Lousiana Rep. John Schroeder (R) has filed several bills to revise the Common Core standards, and Rep. Cameron Henry (R) said he will sponsor a bill to remove Louisiana entirely from the Partnership for the Advancement of College and Careers (PARCC), its Common Core testing consortium.
State Sen. J.P. Morrell said that the nationalized standards will provide more rigor to a state that has scored poorly among the others in the area of academic achievement.
“A lot of the Common Core debate is not about Common Core at all,” but about Tea Party adherents “making [it] their latest vehicle to bash the president,” Morrell said.
Morrell, Appel, and Leger all repeated the popular narrative among Common Core supporters that the nationalized standards themselves are worthwhile, but it is the “implementation” that must be tweaked.
“The fact that our state officials, who are embracing standards that weren’t even written at the time they were adopted (let alone tested), would then refer to engaged and concerned parents as ‘misinformed’ and ‘hysterical’ is beyond insulting,” Danette Clark, a member of Stop Common Core in Louisiana, told Breitbart News.
Clark, a Common Core researcher who is also a contributor to EAG News, said, “Louisiana’s schools have made great strides in recent years, increasing our overall ranking to 15th in the nation in 2012. We also ranked 2nd in the nation for quality standards and assessments. We were on the right track before Common Core.”
“There are thousands of Louisiana citizens opposed to Common Core for various reasons,” Clark added. “I’m part of a very large state-wide group that has done our homework, and are determined to see that our BESE board and state officials understand that we are not misinformed, we know what Common Core is, and we reject it!”
Clark said she hopes state Sens. Appel, Leger, and Morrell understand that her group not only knows how Common Core came to be, but also “that it is a threat to local control and parental authority.”
“We know the responsibilities and duties of our local officials to the people of this state, and we fully intend to hold them accountable for failing in those duties and failing our children,” she said.
“If states start changing the name without acknowledging that the ‘rebranded’ standards are Common Core, they violate the Common Core license,” Schneider said.
In addition, she noted that by “rebranding” the standards, states are also denying “the Race to the Top application stipulation of ‘common standards,'” which states: “Purpose: This document commits states to a state-led process… that will lead to the development and adoption of a common core of state standards.”
“If the states insist that the ‘rebranded’ standards are unique to their own states, let them prove it by discontinuing any connection with the Common Core assessment consortia,” Schneider challenged. “To continue to promote testing via PARCC and SBAC is the litmus test for the rebranding lie.”
Schneider also recommended, “If states insist that the ‘rebranded’ standards are ‘tailored’ to a specific state, ask who did the ‘tailoring.’ Demand to know all names of individuals involved and the dates of their meetings.”
Stop Common Core in Louisiana is holding a forum on Thursday, February 20 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Crossfire Auditorium in Baton Rouge. Featured speakers include Jim Stergios, Executive Director of Pioneer Institute; Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education, University of Arkansas; Dr. James Milgram, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University; and Dr. Terrence Moore, Professor of History, Hillsdale College.