Last Bill In LA Common Core Compromise Wins Final Passage

BATON ROUGE (AP) — With little fanfare, lawmakers quickly wrapped up work Tuesday on a deal brokered over the Common Core education standards, passing the final piece of the compromise deal with a unanimous House vote.

         The three-bill package heads to Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Common Core opponent who was unable to persuade lawmakers to remove the standards entirely from Louisiana's public school classrooms.

         Jindal's office said the Republican governor will sign into law the deal struck by legislators.

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         The final vote was a quiet end to a controversy that once threatened to cause upheaval in the legislative session.

         "This is a very emotional issue across the state of Louisiana," said Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, who sponsored one of the three bills. "We sort of proved that even through our differences and disagreements that if we kept working and kept communicating" lawmakers could reach an agreement.

         One of the compromise bills, by Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, will set in motion a review of the multistate English and math standards with public meetings, legislative oversight and an up-or-down vote from Louisiana's next governor. Schroder's bill will place limits on Louisiana's use of standardized testing material from a consortium aligned with Common Core while the standards review takes place.

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         Attention now shifts to the fall elections, when a new governor and state school board members will be selected who could sway the review and its outcome.

         "The bills set up a good process to ensure education curriculum will be locally controlled going forward. The next step is to elect leaders who are committed to getting rid of Common Core," Jindal spokesman Mike Reed said in a statement.

         The Common Core standards are benchmarks of what students should learn at each grade level in English and math. They've been adopted by more than 40 states as a way to better prepare students for college and careers. Opponents say the standards are developmentally inappropriate and part of federal efforts to nationalize education.

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         The compromise doesn't remove Common Core from Louisiana's public school classrooms.

         Development and review of the standards will remain with the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. But the House and Senate education committees and Louisiana's next governor will have the ability to reject the standards — in an up-or-down vote, not a line-item veto of individual standards, under a bill by Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie.

         If the revised standards are rejected, Common Core stays in place. And the standards review process could come up with only modest adjustments that largely keep the multistate standards intact. That's why supporters of the multistate standards agreed to the package of bills.

         The standards review won't be complete before Jindal leaves office. A decision on the standards will instead fall to Jindal's successor, who will take over in January, and to state education board members elected this fall.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

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