Governor Bobby Jindal has signed three bills into law that will bring back local control of education to Louisiana classrooms.
These pieces of legislation, HB 373, HB 542 and SB 43, set up a clear and transparent process to develop high-quality state-developed standards and curriculum while including parents, teachers and local school leaders in the implementation and review process.These new laws create specific guidelines for implementing new state content standards for public school students.
HB 542 requires the Louisiana Department of Education to enter into a one-year contract, in accordance with state procurement code, for grades 3-8 ELA and math assessment and it also limits the composition of the assessment so that less than half of the questions may come from the PARCC consortium, or any other federally funded consortium of states. Additionally, this legislation prohibits the use of questions based on intellectual property developed by a consortium of states predominantly funded by organizations primarily dedicated to political advocacy.
SB 43 also requires that any rule proposed by BESE to adopt, amend, suspend or repeal state content standards for public education must be submitted to the legislative education committees for review.
Governor Jindal said, “Over the past year, we’ve worked closely with parents throughout the state and listened closely to teachers who have expressed deep concern and frustration with Common Core’s one-size-fits-all approach in our classrooms. This legislation ensures education standards and curriculum will be returned to local control. We are pleased with this compromise but the next big step is to elect leaders in Louisiana who are committed to getting rid of Common Core. Additionally, we are still moving forward and continuing to fight Common Core in our federal lawsuit.”
HB 373 by Representative Brett Geymann:
This bill sets up specific guidelines to begin implementing state content standards for public school students that will be subject to legislative and executive approval.
This bill specifies the process for adopting state content standards in math and English language arts requires an extensive review and development process to begin no later than July 1, 2015. The meetings are subject to open meetings law with minutes to be submitted to members of the legislature. The bill further requires that the new standards be posted online no later than February 21, 2016, and that BESE adopt the standards no later than March 4, 2016. BESE must also promulgate the standards through the Administrative Procedures Act prior to implementation.
The bill also provides that if the governor suspends or vetoes, pursuant to statute, the rules promulgated by the board for the standards, the board shall undertake a review of the standards and make any necessary revisions and shall commence (without delay) the process for the promulgation of rules for the revised standards.
HB 542 by Representative John Schroder:
This bill enacts a new sub-section under the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) for Louisiana’s statewide assessments in current law for assessments administered during the 2015-16 school year. The bill requires the Louisiana Department of Education to enter into a one-year contract, in accordance with state procurement code, for grades 3-8 ELA and math assessments. The bill specifies the composition of the assessments by limiting the amount of questions from the PARCC consortium, or from any other federally funded consortium of states. The bill also prohibits the use of questions based on intellectual property developed by a consortium of states predominantly funded by organizations primarily dedicated to political advocacy.
The bill grants the commissioner of administration and the state’s chief procurement officer with oversight of the contracting and Request For Proposals (RFP) process to ensure compliance with Louisiana Procurement Code.
SB 43 by Senator Conrad Appel:
This bill enacts a new rulemaking statute under the authority of BESE to require BESE to adopt rules in accordance with the APA for any program, statement, guideline, or requirement for conduct or action prescribed by the board, the state superintendent of education, and the department of education.
Sb 43 also enacts new law under the chapter related to legislative review of the rule-making authority and adoption of rules by agencies to allow for the review of rules relative to state content standards for elementary and secondary education. The bill requires that any rule proposed by BESE to adopt, amend, suspend or repeal state content standards for public education be submitted to the legislative education committees for review. The bill requires that the rule shall be considered “in globo” and cannot be separated in any determination of acceptability or unacceptability. Similarly, the bill enacts new sections of law under the legislature’s and governor’s authority to suspend and veto rules and regulations by allowing for the suspension or veto of a rule adopted by BESE relative to state content standards. The bill limits this authority to suspending or vetoing the rule in its entirety.
The Jindal administration worked closely with parents, teachers, school leaders and legislators to pass legislation that targeted Common Core while ensuring that the state provides high-quality Louisiana standards.
These new pieces of legislation will build on Governor Jindal’s ongoing efforts to fight Common Core:
• Filed lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Department of Education;
• Joined legislators in their lawsuit to require the LDE and BESE to follow the law and comply with the Louisiana Administrative Procedures Act procedures;
• Issued an Executive Order protecting freedom of speech and the rights of teachers after school administrators quieted them for speaking out against Common Core;
• Issued an Executive order allowing parents to exercise their choice to opt their children out of the PARCC exam and urging BESE to protect school districts from consequences by authorizing alternate assessments.