LABI Historically Supports Common Core Standards
This is the reality facing our state. More than $60 billion in new economic projects have been recently announced in Louisiana. These projects will require more than 250,000 trained workers to meet the demand and, according to LSU projections, more than 69,000 of those will need to be STEM certified. This clearly reflects the fact that Louisiana businesses are competing in a world economy, and LABI must do everything we can to make sure Louisiana businesses have the workforce they deserve to compete, grow and expand going forward.
Despite that reality, we all know that too many of our students are not being prepared to succeed in our ever-changing workforce. As technology and consumer expectations evolve, Louisiana needs a skilled workforce to ensure we meet our current demand, as well as prove attractive for new capital investment and growth opportunities. If Louisiana doesn’t meet that demand, other states and countries will do so, and we will see diminishing returns as time goes by.
Twenty-five years ago, American high school and collegiate graduation rates were ranked first in the world. Today, they are 20th, 16th respectively, and trending in the wrong direction.
From its inception, LABI is a strong force for reforms in our K-12 education system and we are seeing some of the benefits. Choice is expanding. High-quality teaching is being identified, rewarded and replicated. Educational leadership is becoming contagious. We have many more miles to go before we get to the system we all deserve, but Louisiana is making progress.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voluntarily chose to adopt the Common Core Standards in 2010, and the standards are set to be fully implemented starting in 2013. They are standards, not curriculum. The final decisions on the curriculum and the lessons that will be taught are developed in the local school districts, in some instances with assistance from the State, should that district choose that assistance.
There have been some recent public examples of worksheets or reading material assigned to students that are not appropriate for children or the social norms of the local community. However that is not a common core problem. That is a problem regarding a local decision made to include that material in an assignment. Local parents and educators should be informed and vigilant with local school districts to ensure all assignments are in line with community standards.
Common Core Standards raise the level of expectations for math and critical thinking, and attempts to benchmark that achievement with neighboring states. Both of those expectations are important for the same reason; Louisiana children need to have these skills so the workforce can compete. If Louisiana wants to attract investment and jobs more aggressively than our neighbors do, then we must provide a better workforce than they do.
In short, we support the standards in the Common Core Standards because we cannot turn our back on the workforce challenges we face. LABI continues to oppose a federal curriculum and we oppose any inappropriate material being included in assignments. We believe in protecting the privacy of our citizens and would oppose any effort to share student data, since Common Core Standards require no data collection or sharing of data. We need our local educators to teach high-level math and critical thinking skills to our children using community-appropriate examples.
Visit this link for more information to read our Program of Work.
Visit this link to see the business community's JOINT STATEMENT OF SUPPORT.