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Louisiana State Board Elections Give Boost to Common Core

After a turbulent two years in Louisiana, the Common Core State Standards got a helping hand from elections to the state school board that took place Oct. 24.

Of the eight seats that were up for election to the 11-member board, six were won by those who favor the common core, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. Two other seats are headed to runoff elections that will take place Nov. 21. Among the losers was board member Lottie Beebe, a member from the third district who has been a particularly vocal critic of the common core. 

Beebe has sought to replace state Superintendent John White, who has vigorously backed the common core and the aligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam in the face of opposition from GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, the man who originally backed White for his job. With Saturday's election results, White's job appears to be safe for the moment.

However, two common-core opponents, U.S. GOP Sen. David Vitter and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, emerged from the state's "jungle primary" (in which the top two candidates proceed to a subsequent election regardless of their party affiliation) on the same day. As I wrote in August, both Vitter and Edwards are opposed to the common core—more specifically, whichever one of them wins will have the power to pick three new members for the state school board.

So while White appears to have a bulwark against a vote to fire him—it takes eight board members to vote to do that—he might face some continuing opposition from board members going forward.

On a related note, last week the state released results from the PARCC exam in English/language arts and math in grades 3-8. The percentage of students scoring in the two performance levels ("mastery" and "advanced") ranged from 32 percent to 40 percent in E/LA, and from 22 percent to 37 percent in math. Click here to see detailed breakdowns of the scores by grade level, performance level, and more. 


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