White suggests slowing down impact of Common Core

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana's education superintendent Thursday proposed a two-year delay for the consequences from toughened

educational standards on school grades, teacher evaluations and student promotion in public schools.

John White outlined recommendations for how he'd like to roll out the statewide shift to the Common Core standards, a more

rigorous set of grade-level benchmarks adopted by most states for what students should learn in reading, writing and math.

He is suggesting the raising of accountability standards — like grading of students, schools and teachers — to match the Common

Core shouldn't start until 2015, with a slow adjustment to toughen the school grades set to phase in through 2025.

White's proposal will be considered by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education next month. His recommendations

are designed to lessen criticism of the state's use of the Common Core by lawmakers, parents and teacher unions.

"If we want Louisiana jobs to go to Louisiana graduates, we have to raise expectations for students," White said in a statement.

"I have traveled the state seeking the input of educators and parents on how best to do this, and I believe that providing

more time for educators, parents and students to learn these new expectations is critical to achieving that objective."

Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core. BESE agreed to use the standards in Louisiana three years ago, and they are

being phased into public school classrooms and testing, with plans to have them fully in place by the 2014-15 year.

Critics have said the transition to the standards in Louisiana has happened with too little guidance, training and funding.

Lawmakers at a recent hearing said state education officials were holding teachers and students accountable without giving

them enough preparation.

Changes proposed by White include:

• Tests taken by students in 2015 will be the baseline for slowly raising the bar for how schools are graded over a 10-year

period. Public schools will be graded on a curve in 2014 and 2015, so that the same number of schools will be rated at the

A, B and C level through 2015.

• New tests planned for 2015 will be taken by

students in third grades through eighth grades, but not students in

high school.

Students in third and fourth grades will take the tests on paper,

and the older students will take computerized tests. Schools

will be eligible for one-year waivers on computerized testing if

they don't have the technology.

• Teachers won't be judged based on growth in student achievement on standardized tests for 2014 and 2015. Their evaluations

instead will rely on other information and scoring.

• Local school districts can give promotion

waivers to fourth-grade students even if they don't pass the

standardized testing

requirements in 2014 and 2015, if the districts feel students are

showing progress. Meanwhile, eighth-graders who don't pass

the standardized testing requirements during that time can advance

to high school and take remedial classes there.

White's also agreed to provide curriculum guidelines to school systems, after complaints that districts were left on their

own to determine what they should be teaching to meet the standards.