On Thursday, The Lens hosted an online chat with State Rep. Cameron Henry (R-Metairie), a leading opponent of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) who has filed several bills that seek to reverse Louisiana’s adoption of the standards.
Henry’s comments1 on CCSS are revealing in several respects. At one point, he concedes that the efforts to repeal the standards are unlikely to pass during this legislative session. Furthermore, not only is Henry unable to provide a concrete rationale for his opposition to Common Core, but he also doesn’t understand the standards, as when he discusses “informational text” and claims “few pro CCSS people can tell parents what it means.” As the term itself clearly indicates, “informational text” refers to non-fiction writing.
Below I’ve included a selection of Cameron Henry’s responses to questions on Common Core. You can see the full transcript of Cameron Henry’s live chat with The Lens here.
Tyler Bridges (Staff Writer, The Lens):
You want to repeal Common Core. Why?
I have several bills dealing with CCSS. After meeting with members, teachers and business leaders I believe the most practical next set is for Louisiana to spend the next 2 years developing our own standards and in the meantime keep the standards but allow teacher to modify the curriculum by staying with the modified leap test we are currently taking.
Common Core is not a curriculum; it is a set of standards. Curriculum is derived from standards. For standards to be tested and vetted, they must be implemented in some capacity. While 43 other states and the District of Columbia move forward with that implementation, what standards will ensure that our state’s children no longer test in the bottom 5% on national assessments (NAEP)? Our students have improved annually on our state standards (LEAP), but NAEP results indicate those standards are not rigorous enough.
CCSS is both a curriculum and standards. 32 states have legislation to alter or eliminate CCSS. As well as only 14 states are using the PARCC test, and that number is declining. Education Weekly gave Louisiana an A- for standards and accountability in 2013. Outcomes have us at 48, 50 not the standards. There is not a silver bullets to education.
So how long will it take for parents, teachers and business leaders to develop this plan and what do we do in the meantime…nothing. I surely don’t want each parish to decide their curriculum.
I believe it is the most practical at this time to continue what schools are doing right now but give local the option to change the material to reflect the values of their community. Which is why I believe Rep. Geymanns bill may be the most effect and practical instrument at this time. Though I would love to get rid of CCSS it is not something we can do at this time.
You mention an issue with how the standards were developed and adopted, but what about the content? What in the content of the standards gives you pause? Could you cite a CCSS standard and explain why it’s objectionable?
Informational text is mentioned several times yet few pro CCSS people can tell parents what it means. The math standards according to several experts are not higher than what we are doing now. CCSS mentions college ready but they are referring to a 2 yr university not a 4 yr university.
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- Note: Henry’s responses have not been edited and therefore contain numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes ↩