Mercedes Schneider writes about Louisiana’s fake review of the Common Core standards. State Superintendent John White responded to protests against the CCSS by promising a thorough review by Louisiana teachers. But when the math committee assembled, the Louisiana teachers of math found that they would be joined by two members of the state education department’s Common Core committee. One of the math teachers, Brenda DeFelice, resigned, saying that she could not participate under these circumstances.
DeFelice wrote in her resignation letter:
During our last sub-committee meeting in Monroe, two people were introduced as experts and were invited to be seated at microphones to answer questions and to offer input to the sub-committee as we conducted the review. I have since learned that the two experts who were added to the group, Carolyn Sessions (LDOE standards coordinator and PARCC cadre) and Nancy Beben (LDOE curriculum director), were two of the original writers of the national Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. In my opinion, they had absolutely no place at the table or in front of a microphone as the sub-committee conducted our review. In fact, in the very first Standards Review Meeting in August, the Standards Steering Committee rejected a proposal to form a panel of experts to assist in this review process, saying that the work was to be done by the appointed committee members only.
This morning in Baton Rouge, in an effort to continue the high school discussions prior to the full sub-committee meeting tomorrow, several of the high school sub-committee members met to review the Geometry standards revisions, with the rest of the high school sub-committee members reporting in this afternoon to continue the review. Imagine my surprise to find, seated at the sub-committee table, Scott Baldridge (LSU math professor and author of Eureka Math) and James Madden (LSU Cain Center and another of the original writers of the national Common Core State Standards in Mathematics), both strong proponents of Common Core. We were also joined by Carolyn Sessions (LDOE and PARCC) again. Not surprisingly, all three spoke strongly against the sub-committee members’ proposed changes to the current Louisiana Common Core Geometry Standards, and once again, I feel very strongly that these people had absolutely no place at these discussions.
Why are we conducting a review if the same people who brought us Common Core are invited to a seat at the table and are encouraged to influence the committee in a particular direction in which they benefit?
As I read this account, I wonder why advocates for CCSS are so desperate? Why are they fearful of an independent review by qualified math teachers? Why do they try to control any honest critique? What do they have to gain or lose?