BPSB asks legislature to opt district out of Common Core, PARCC

Published: Feb. 6, 2015 at 2:27 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2017 at 2:07 AM CST
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BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - The Bossier Parish School Board unanimously passed a resolution Thursday night asking the Louisiana Legislature to remove Louisiana from the Common Core State Standards and direct the state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) develop a replacement.

The board also voted to have the ratings and scores of school districts and individual schools unaffected by children who opt-out of the PARCC, an assessment aligned with CCSS.

Parents, educators and board members spoke for more than two hours about Common Core, PARCC testing and the state of the education system, as a whole in Louisiana at the board's regularly-scheduled meeting.

Jane Smith, a BESE board member, attended the meeting. BESE is set to meet on March 5, but Smith says they should be meeting much sooner.

"Students that opt out, there will not be any punitive measures for them," said Smith. "But the school districts will receive zeros and we feel like that's a variable the schools can't control."

Smith is hoping BESE will amend their school accountability policy to say schools will not be negatively affected by students who opt-out of the PARCC exam.

Currently, four BESE board members are in favor of meeting before March 5, but it takes six members to make it happen.

"I should be in Baton Rouge tonight at a BESE meeting talking about these issues," said Smith. "We as a state board ought to be leaders, giving directions to districts. That's our job as leaders and we haven't been doing that and I'm very disappointed."

The resolution the BPSB passed Thursday night, will now go to Baton Rouge to BESE.

Superintendent John White and board members will take action on it during their meeting on March 5, if a special meeting isn't held sooner.

"Many school boards are meeting tonight, just like Bossier," said Smith. "St. Tammany, North DeSoto, many other boards are meeting and it sends a strong message to legislators before the legislation starts, that we want something done and we're not happy with the PARCC assessment. We're not happy with Common Core. I think that's a good sign they're paying attention."

Smith says BESE should take note about what parents and school districts are saying is important and she hopes they will.

The resolution passed by the BPSB will not go into effect until BESE issues a vote to pass it.

The Bossier Parish School Board is set to meet again on February 19.

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