I am Samantha Thibodeaux. I am a 14 year teacher of SPED in St. John Parish. I hold a bachelor’s in KHS, a master’s in health education and a master’s in Educational Leadership. I am one and a half years into my doctoral program. There are so many issues I would love to discuss today from needless professional growth plans to a flawed value-added system to a faulty COMPASS teacher evaluation system. But, I will stick to the topic at hand—Common Core.

Today, I come to you not just as an educator but a parent and soon to be grandparent to voice my concerns over the Common Core initiative that has been permitted by Gov. Jindal and the BESE board to infiltrate our schools and our students.

I do not ascribe to the notion that Gov. Jindal and the BESE board did not know the negative effect that this progressive agenda would have on our teachers, students and parents. What I do believe is the Gov. and the BESE board signed on to this defective agenda without doing a simple Google search to find out more on Common Core like the lack of empirical data to support this abomination and the Obama administration’s true intentions. Empirical data and robust research is imperative to any successful program. In a speech in 2010 to the United Nations, Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Arne Duncan stated:

“The North Star guiding the alignment of cradle to career education agenda, (let me say that again), cradle to career education agenda is Pres. Obamas goal that by the end of the decade America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That goal CAN ONLY be achieved by creating a strong cradle-to career continuum that starts with early childhood learning and extends all the way to college and careers.”

Let’s just soak that in for a minute. This is not an agenda just for public education or just for students but will TRACK citizens for the rest of their lives. I could end my remarks there but there is more.

Are you familiar with the Common Core birth to five years standards? Birth to five year standards. This is beyond early childhood education. And Republicans have bought into the early childhood fairytale and Common Core puts this agenda on steroids.

Who is going to educate these children?

Where are the resources coming from?

How can a teacher be held accountable for growth in an infant?

Another goal of the Obama administration is that through Common Core students will be required to take action. Again Arne Duncan states:

“These new partnerships must also inspire students to take a bigger and deeper view of their civic obligations—not only to their countries of origin but to the betterment of the global community. A just and socially responsible society must also be anchored in civic engagement for the public good.”

He continues:

“The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more to support reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities.”

Remember this is 2010:

“But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted [another myth] Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it.”

I agree with Arne Duncan. This has not been studied, or thought out or even discussed in most states. And back to the lack of empirical data and robust research. I understand that most states, along with Louisiana, signed onto this agenda without the standards being completed or published.

Did anyone ask any questions? Gov. Jindal is a bright man. Where were his instincts when this was being presented? Where were his advisors saying to hold on-let’s do a little research?

The people of Louisiana TRUSTED Gov. Jindal. But not anymore.

Over the past several weeks, I have spoken to a couple of principals and master teachers in St. John and they have expressed concern about cost and lack of a coherent curriculum. One principal stated that this is education’s Obamacare. Where is the money because it is not trickling down to the schools? There are grave concerns over the lack of materials and incoherent messaging from the La. Dept of Ed. There is NO curriculum, there are NO textbooks. Yet, teachers are being held accountable for growth in students while implementing these standards that are developmentally inappropriate. One statement from a SPED teacher is:

“I have concluded that the materials and lack of time allotted for the topic at hand to be implemented have become nothing more than an academic trap designed for failure.”

Teachers have been demoralized by Gov. Jindal, John White and the BESE board. Teachers feel frustrated and insulted by continually being told that student learning targets need to be more rigorous, evaluations need to be more rigorous because John White didn’t get the numbers he was expecting. (By the way, if I spoke to each person in this room I am positive I would get just as many varying opinions on what “rigor” is.) Teachers feel further hurt and insulted when they were informed this year that they would be allowed to pre-test their students but post-tests had to be performed by someone other than themselves.

As I professional, I find that incredibly offensive. Not only does John White not trust me as a professional apparently he doesn’t trust me as a person. It doesn’t end there. It gets better. We were told that the Common Core standards would be incrementally implemented over the course of several years yet this summer school systems were instructed to begin full implementation of Common Core and mandatory full implementation would be in the 2014-2015 school year. This has been the pattern of the La. Dept of ed. Incoherent, disorganized chaos. Master teachers are instructed to look at other states to see how they have implemented Common Core and go to the LA. Dept of ed. website to view webinars. They do not have the time to review materials that are sent to them. Teachers are scrambling to find resources and materials. So, now Common Core has been thrust upon thousands of teachers without adequate professional development, with minimal, at best, support, without proper curriculum, without suitable materials and without acceptable levels of funding and you think this is going to be successful and end well for your administration. The depth of incompetence is mind boggling.

What is the intent here? Not with the Obama administration but with Gov. Jindal and John White!

Is the intent to get rid of experienced teachers to put in place inexperienced, naïve teachers that will follow like sheep and do whatever the La. Dept. of Ed says?

Is the intent to demoralize and insult teachers to the point of tears so they will no longer fight back? Ask yourself, what is the intention of the BESE board, Gov. Jindal and Superintendent White?

From where I sit, it is not to improve education in Louisiana, or hold teachers and students to quote unquote higher standards. I believe the intent is to control and manipulate the lives of educators and students in Louisiana; to track them from cradle to grave. And, as Arne Duncan said, “To fundamentally shift the federal role” in education. And apparently, Gov, Jindal is all in.

I would like to read part of a letter from an educator in Ascension parish:

“So many teachers feel as though their hands are tied, so to speak, and have taken early retirement or have just left the system. Many have said to me that they can’t live with themselves as they push kids beyond their breaking point. I was in many meetings last year where teachers were crying out of sheer frustration. They are, however, forbidden to express their frustrations to their superiors. They have little to no input now as “teachers” on what or how they will teach their students. It is a very sad situation. I believe that we will continue to lose our teachers at an even higher rate if we fully implement Common Core.”

“Parents have had no information regarding Common Core. No informational meetings, no written material sent home, no formal venue to be introduced to and ask questions about Common Core. Therefore, at first they made the assumption that it was in the best interest of their children. As homework began to come home, they realized they were less and less able to help. Just now are we seeing parents rising up and contacting their principals, administration, and school board members, asking to know what Common Core is, explaining how it is affecting their children.”

I have heard that Superintendents are threatening repercussions if a teacher publically opposes Common Core. I have heard that administrators are being pressured to implement standards that they feel are developmentally inappropriate. If John White believes so much in Common Core, why are the standards not featured on the Louisiana Believes website? Parents have to search to find the standards. That makes me suspicious of the motives of the La. Dept. of Ed.

Personally, I am sick and tired of Louisiana schools being used as experiments and students and teachers being used as guinea pigs for politicians.  In conclusion, I ask Gov. Jindal to stop Common Core in Louisiana. Abraham Lincoln stated:

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Help stop the destruction of Louisiana. Help stop the destruction of our students and teachers. I know, personally, as a voter, I would respect Gov. Jindal more if he would admit his error, apologize to the people and STOP Common Core in Louisiana.

(BACKGROUND: I was asked to sit in on a meeting recently where some feedback from parents and teachers was being given. I came to give my support and lend my expertise in the illegal data sharing area and the inBloom fiasco we narrowly escaped from. I was both astonished and impressed by this statement read by Samantha and I asked her if I could share it with you. Not because I hadn’t heard much of this before for many teachers and parents, but by how vehemently she made these statements and how I saw everyone in the room nodding their heads in agreement. I don’t feel like a lone voice screaming into a whirlwind after hearing this. Thank you for sharing this, Samantha.

How many of you teachers and parents out there in Louisiana or across the nation feel as Samantha Thibodeaux does about Common Core, Arne Duncan’s, John White’s and Bobby Jindal’s education deforms, or your own harsh treatment at the hands of education deformers?   Feel free to post a comment here or send me your letters to crazycrawfish@yahoo.com ) Thanks!)

88 thoughts on “Samantha Thibodeaux, SPED teacher from St John Parish, speaks out about CCSS, Jindal, White & Duncan

  1. I honor Samantha and at the same time am afraid for her. She is braver than many. I know she will be made fun of and vilified at LDOE. I know because I work there. I have heard many being made fun of and vilified. I have not drunk the Koolaid and never will. I just have bills to pay.

    We are up against something so huge perpetrated by the billionaires. They judge what they think should happen in public education by their own warped standards of what it means to have a good life and to be successful. No sense of right and wrong.

    They throw around the word achievement, but what does that mean to them or for them? They have achieved money and power through either birthright or greed.

    What does achievement mean to them when it comes to the masses? Achieving scores on tests so they can say they were correct about the deforms they are pushing down our throats. When will anyone talk about learning to be a good human being and helping others as being part of a good education? That’s not even on their radar. They are so isolated- they don’t care about anyone being nice. They can buy all they need and want.

    Our society is heading straight for hell.

    1. Amen peeps! (I particularly loved the video after Samantha’s presentation about how positively the oil and gas industry has affected the agricultural community of weld county CO as I live in Denver!)
      Making money is a GOOD thing right?
      Struggling with common core in Denver suburbs! Will have no choice but to homeschool my children! As Samantha pointed out, the problem is with the people WE elected (Jindal ect) we don’t have a prayer now! Hoping Jesus comes back soon!

  2. Samantha Thibodeaux – You are my hero!…. and the hero for every public/private school child and teacher being tortured by Common Core, Arnie Duncan, Bobby Jindal and John White. I sat with you in that meeting my friend and was blown away by your passion for the TRUTH. Thank you Samantha – You are an inspiration to us all!

  3. I find it ludicrous that anyone in LDE is laughing at us as they are making fools of themselves. I and two others waited for two hours to pick up public information requested last Thursday and were given a runaround that would make your head spin. We insisted over and over that we wanted to go upstairs to look at public documents but LDE refused. I had made an appointment the day before so it was not like they weren’t prepared. The next time I go I will have a legislator or other public official witness this charade and someone to videotape it. LDE needs to have a criminal investigation made. Millions of $ are being misappropriated and falsely awarded thru federal grants based on school performance scores? Enough is enough.

  4. A little detail to keep in mind. When special interests 5th column and completely co-opt what was once at least partially a government of, by and for the people, what results can no longer be considered government. It may appear to be government, call itself government and seem to function like government, but it is just a sock puppet for those special interests, nothing more. Politicians may come and go but the “invisible hand” in their backs remains the same.

  5. These educational reforms ( from vouchers to charters to accountability and evaluation of teachers to union busting and the standardization of the curriculum) are all part of the movement of the marketization of education which supersedes political affiliation. It is an economic policy that members of both Republicans and Democrats aspire to. Outside of the US, it is referred to as neoliberalism, which is not a political stance, but more of an economic philosophy. While we are bickering with one another, the corporate elite are cashing in on their reforms.

  6. Wow. I didn’t think this blog would seek to give voice to right-wingers, but I guess things have changed. Clearly, with her negative references to Obamacare, Ms. Thibodeaux falls on the Tea Party-side of the spectrum. Furthermore, contrary to her claims, the CCSS are on the LDOE website (http://pcook.me/QAno) they’re not at all hard to find, if you’ve used the internet before. Plus, her claim that Arne Duncan intends to “track” students is totally baseless; in fact, she quotes and then totally misinterprets Duncan’s reference to a “cradle-to-career continuum” apparently as some sort of government “tracking” system. What he meant was a rigorous education based on scaffolded standards from early childhood to college. Is that a bad thing? Incoherent, disorganized chaos doesn’t describe the LDOE as much as it describes the thinking and arguments of CCSS opponents/conspiracy theorists.

    1. I give a voice to parents and teachers. Fighting people instead of policies is a false and destructive choice. (Except where those people become indistinguishable from their policies like Jindal and White.)  For the record i confessed to being a progressive in the meeting, but explained there and to folks outside that i am a parent and Louisiana citizen, and don’t agree with much of this agenda. I don’t think the curriculum should be left slanted anymore than I think it should be right slanted.  I want the unbiased truth. I belive in letting everyones voice being heard, and listening, even if I don’t agree with everything as long as they give me the same courtesy. When people are allowed to speak and when we talk with each other instead of at each other or ignoring each other, I believe the truth will win out or at least we will be less inclined to see each other as enemies rather that decent folks with different ways of seeing the world.  I wont post everything as a blog entry (don’t believe I have an obligation to promote what I don’t agree with) but i won’t stop.others from making comments or points of view i don’t agree with, even you.  :)

      Maybe that means I lose my liberal/progressive card.  Those are silly labels and stereotypes used to drive us apart from each other anyways.  Those labels are created by the mainstream media and politicians to organize us into little boxes that are easiee to report on, appeal to, and summarize in poll results.  If these folks refused to buy into these boxing in of their constituents or defining us all as Rs or DS, red or blue, our government would be a lot less dysfunctional and more representative of the will of the people rather than the whims of multinational corporations and media outlets that profit from whipping us up into a frenzy – on the left and right.

      Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

      1. While our politics may greatly differ, I couldn’t agree with you more. This isn’t a Thank you Samantha for being such a great voice of reason in this insanity. I thought your initial “knuckledragger” list was spot on. Now, knowing that you are a teacher who is putting her reputation and job at stake to tell the truth…… well, geez, saying “thank you” seems like such a little thing to do. But, from the bottom of my momma’s heart, I say a million thanks for the time and effort you have put into getting our voices heard.

        The anonymous teacher that you quoted from Ascension Parish is exactly right. I have spoken to two well-respected teachers who have told me that their voices are being stifled on the issue of common core. On Friday, the parish sent out an email flier touting the fact that we are leaders in the state in implementing the CCS…. yada yada, yada. It states, “With our benchmarks in place, we began implementing Common Core Standards in our elementary schools last year.” From this parent’s perspective, this is a blatant lie and, at the very least, a gross overstatement. While the curriculum last year may have included some minor aspects of the CCS, there was no real changes in how the kids were tested or the amount of work they had to do.

        1. Oh geez, I so didn’t meant to include the “This isn’t” in my second sentence……. THIS IS A BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC, ENORMOUS THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to you Samantha!

    2. I have never been affiliated with the tea party. What I am is a ticked Republican who is very disappointed in the leadership in Louisiana. BTW, what difference does it make? The comparison between Obamacare and Common Core is leaders signing onto massive program without knowing the details. The standards were not completed or published. The cost has skyrocketed and this is before the testing component has been put into place. Riddle me this, how do you measure the effectiveness of cradle to career standards?

      1. I beg to differ with you Common Core standards have been available since 2010, when they were completed and published. You may have been unaware of it at the time, but they’ve been available for three years at this point. The “cradle-to-career standards” Duncan referenced were a policy goal, not CCSS – CCSS just covers normal grades/subject areas, so your riddle is moot. Policymakers knew what they were signing on to – just because you didn’t doesn’t mean everyone else was in the dark, too.

        1. Any other Douglas Adams fans out there?

          Mr Prosser: But, Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.

          Arthur: Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything.

          Mr Prosser: But the plans were on display…

          Arthur: On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.

          Mr Prosser: That’s the display department.

          Arthur: With a torch.

          Mr Prosser: The lights had probably gone out.

          Arthur: So had the stairs.

          Mr Prosser: But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?

          Arthur: Yes yes I did. It was on display at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying beware of the leopard.

          1. As one of the boots on the ground, CCSS were not made available to me (a teacher) until 2011. All I was given was a rough outline comparing CCSS to Louisiana standards. I was told that more information would be forthcoming, which came in trickles. They definitely were not on the LADOE website at that time. I love how you cherry pick comments, while missing the point.

            1. To my knowledge, there are still only two subjects even written so far, English and Math.

              As far as the tracking system, I don’t know the origins, but we already have it here in Mississippi. We had a Bill to repeal it last year, but it was killed by one of Lt. Gov Tate Reeves’ Chairmen.

        2. Peter, why are you so rude? People here are having thoughtful discussions and you come in with rudeness. This is why people dislike Progressivism. It doesn’t serve to positively affect anything, only disrupt. We are TIRED of those disruptions because they have served to corrupt our society. Please stop.

          1. By “we”, I mean people who believe that the American Republic, the Bill of Rights, and Constitution are pretty awesome, and we don’t want to fundamentally them.

          2. Connie – you are guilty if the same divisive efforts with your progressivism comment. May I point out that “those disruptions” represent voices from all political persuasions and by virtue of dissenting opinions we end up with a representative democracy. Or at least that’s the theory! Those of us who consider ourselves as progressive in nature don’t appreciate being attacked or stereotyped any more than conservative Tea Party types. Do unto others my friend. His discussion should be about Common Core. It has plenty enough faults without mis attribution.

            1. You are right Geauxteacher. I apologize.

              In my life though, those disruptions ruined my education as a student at Orleans Parish Public Schools and I still have a LOT of resentment. My desire is for Progressive people in the school system to reevaluate their goals, because the methods being used end up hurting most everyone in one way or another, in my personal experience. Like the quote goes, “I don’t know if that word means what you think it means.”

              Again I apologize. When I re-read my comment, I would have liked to have edited it, but there is no feature to do that on the blog that I could find.

          3. He is playing the part of a troll, he is part of the forces currently in charge of Louisiana’s education system, and he is scared. He likes to think of himself as a progressive and smarter than everyone else, as most everyone from TFA (Teach For America) does, but he is hurting children (especially poor ones), hurting parents and trampling people’s rights because he thinks we’re too stupid to know any better. He is operating on ends justifies the means logic. He belongs to an education cult that “knows” it knows better, and which will stop at nothing until it wipes public education off the map and replaces it with a corporately sponsored one, complete with individualized advertising.

    3. Peter, you are correct. As I was reading the blog, I observed the same things as you stated. Based upon what I’ve heard and read about CCSS, I’m not sure if I’m for it or against it. No one is giving any backed up arguments on either side.

      1. Thanks Don, I’m glad to have at least one(?) person on here who hears me out. Since you’re on the fence about CCSS, here’s my annotated comments on another post (link: http://pcook.me/HZiK) in which I explained why I think the CCSS hubbub is way overblown:

        “Your teacher from St. John makes totally false claims like ‘The standards were not completed or published.” The Common Core standards were completed and published over three years ago. Louisiana signed onto Common Core in July 2010. Those are verifiable facts. Your unnamed “Independent” is talking about blaming teachers, blaming parents, kids wanting to learn, or not learn – none of which have anything to do Common Core. Yes, he’s right – we do have a Constitution – and the federal government has not forced this on anyone. Most states have elected to join; some have not. The government hasn’t rolled in tanks into those states that haven’t joined Common Core. CCSS opposition has become hysteria, drummed up as a proxy battle by folks opposed to broader education reforms, in an effort to exploit people’s fear.

        But they are fears that make no logical sense. Your “Mother/Parent” above is outraged that: “Parents have had no information regarding Common Core. No informational meetings, no written material sent home, no formal venue to be introduced to and ask questions about Common Core.” Did she get information sent home in years past about the old standards? Did she know the old content standards in-and-out? Did she ever even THINK about the old standards? The answer is no. Why the sudden outrage? Obviously, if she had the wherewithal to figure out how to send you her thoughts, she could look up CCSS on Google and learn more about them than I’m sure she would even want to know. No one is withholding information about the CCSS. So why doesn’t your average citizen know much about CCSS? Because to be honest, reading education standards is boring and bland. Unless you have a reason or serious interest in reading them, most people probably won’t.

        In truth, the old standards were a mess – no one above acknowledges that point for the simple fact that they probably don’t know much about them. They were dense and massive. They didn’t follow a logical progression of skills and content matter, and they were overly broad and disjointed to the extent that they didn’t allow teachers to actually address topics in depth if they wanted to cover them all (& most teachers didn’t cover them all).

        Are more rigorous? Yes, to the extent that they cover a narrower set of skills in more depth than the previous system. Are they “this indoctrinating tacking [sic] system” that your commenter from Livingston Parish described them as? Absolutely not. I suggest folks READ them before freaking out (here: http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards) and grabbing their pitchforks and torches in revolt. It’s reading, writing, and arithmetic, not mind control, communism, or the other craziness that extremists say they are.

        1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_core_state_standards_initiative

          The standards are copyrighted by NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)[8] The copyright ensures that the standards will be the same throughout the nation. The standards also carry a generous public license[9] which waives the copyright notice for State Departments of Education to use the standards; however, two conditions apply. First, the use of the standards must be “in support” of the standards and the waiver only applies if the state has adopted the standards “in whole.”

          In 2009 the National Governors Association hired David Coleman and Student Achievement to write curriculum standards in the areas of literacy and mathematics instruction. Announced on June 1, 2009,[6] the initiative’s stated purpose is to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.”[7] Additionally, “The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers,” which will place American students in a position in which they can compete in a global economy.[7]
          Standards were released for mathematics and English language arts on June 2, 2010, with a majority of states adopting the standards in the subsequent months. (See below for current status.) States were given an incentive to adopt the Common Core Standards through the possibility of competitive federal Race to the Top grants. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the Race to the Top competitive grants on July 24, 2009, as a motivator for education reform.[12] To be eligible, states had to adopt “internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the work place.”[13] This meant that in order for a state to be eligible for these grants, the states had to adopt the Common Core State Standards or a similar career and college readiness curriculum. The competition for these grants provided a major push for states to adopt the standards.[14]The adoption dates for those states that chose to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative are all within the two years following this announcement.[15] The common standards are funded by the governors and state schools chiefs, with additional support from theBill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and others.[16] States are planning to implement this initiative by 2015[17] by basing at least 85% of their state curricula on the Standards.

          Written in one year, prescribed thru RTTT BEFORE it was completed and published. I don’t know when it was published on the LDOE website but it had no timeline defined and in fact the legislature pushed up implementation this last spring. Does that sound like a recipe for success Peter?

          1. I’m not sure what your is point, Lee. The standards took a year to create, so…how long should it take to create the standards? If you said they wrote the standards in two weeks, you might have a point that they were rushed. Furthermore, as your entry from Wikipedia says, the standards were released in June 2010 and, as I’ve noted above, Louisiana adopted them in July of that same year. Therefore, they’ve been available for over three years at this point – all anyone had to do is point their browsers to “corestandards.org” – it’s not that difficult. I’m not saying CCSS roll-out has been perfect, but I am saying that this feigned helplessness about CCSS adoption is ridiculous and melodramatic.

            At the end of the day, this CCSS uproar is a bit moot – Louisiana is using them and Jindal’s comments late last week made it clear that he’s not going back on them. All of this energy fighting CCSS would be put to better use helping with implementation, instead of fighting the inevitable.

            1. Louisiana asked districts to sign on to RTTT in February of 2010 before the standards were written. RTTT required acceptance of standards that had not been published. This was purposeful. The creation of common standards is a far more complex process than can be written here. I suggest you read blogs by Dr. Mercedes Schneider who is a researcher and statistician and has just completed a book which, when published, will blow reform out of the water. I know you will smirk but so be it. I have followed, researched, studied reform for three years now and also understand education process as an educator. I would not be fighting such a battle if I reform, Common Core etc were beneficial. I have nothing personal to gain. On the other hand there are billions of $ to be made and while I don’t ascribe to the same “conspiracy” theories as some others, I do know the concerted effort of key players to privatize public education. Google deutsch29 for the blog.

            2. Just because the standards have been available, doesn’t mean that local school boards actually took the initiative to inform parents about those standards and/or prepare for them. Am I being melodramatic because I’m seriously concerned that the stress level of my eleven-year child is through the roof because the students, parents and teachers were woefully unprepared for all the changes this year?

              1. I can’t speak for your 11 year-old – although if he is stressed, I doubt it has anything to do with CCSS. All I’m saying is that folks need to calm down and stop overreacting to CCSS hysteria. This is going to work itself out – this isn’t the end of the world. While some folks may feel woefully unprepared, not everyone feels that way. Instead of freaking out and pulling out of CCSS, let’s give it time, identify where improvements need to be made, and address them. Change is hard – I understand that – but a lot of the hysteria is being stirred up by the Tea Party for political reasons that have nothing to do with whether the standards are good or not. Those are the extremists I’m referring to, not you (unless you identify with the Tea Party) or other genuinely concerned folks.

                1. Wow, maybe you need to take your liberal blinders off for a second. Is your goal to actually have a dialogue with people or just tick them off? For the record, I am not a member of the Tea Party and am a registered INDEPENDENT!!!!! Am I sure that my daughter’s stress can be attributed to school…….. Yes, absolutely, positively, without a doubt. May I ask why you who have never met her feel qualified to say that its not?

                  1. I would, but it doesn’t make any sense – read it yourself. By the way, there is much better things to get angry about in this world, than comments on some blog. Chill out before you have a heart attack.

                    1. Actually, your moronic posts and the responses to them (except for Trololol’s) has provided great comic relief for me. It’s always fun to watch someone so arrogant get knocked down a peg or two. I knew you would avoid answering my question because you can’t. LOL, LOL, LOL………

                2. Pete, you are being an arrogant tool. Get off my blog until you can behave yourself. These are teachers. children and parents you pretend to represent when it suits your purpose. Claiborne (DOE) is filled to the brim with phonies like you and John White and you appear to be showing your true colors now. If you can’t be civil I will start purging your comments, not because I fear them (because they are all ridiculous, transparent, and self-serving) but because you are not adding anything to the discussion and just making a nuisance of yourself like a spoiled child spouting nonsense and flicking buggers from the corner.

            3. Good point, Pete. Under the “snooze you lose” doctrine we must all passively submit our children to the corporate machine to be processed that pink slime used to make hamburger meat.

              You know, if a dentist came out with a new procedure that called for the all teeth to be removed to prevent cavities, and mandatory denture installation 3 years ago at a dental convention, but didn’t start performing the procedure until a few weeks ago, I think its reasonable to expect the same delayed reaction. That is what CCSS does. It replaces out old system with this new system that doesn’t work as well, causes a lot of trauma and pain, and really only serves to make dentists and denture manufacturers rich. I know you’re smarter than that, even if you are pretending to be an insolent child now.

              Do you use the argument in your second paragraph on vegans? Give it up veggie lovers. You were born into a world of carnivores. People are not going to give up their meat. Take this knife. You might as well slit Bambi’s throat and drink his blood, because you have no chance of winning this fight. Join us or be devoured.

                1. Seems pretty accurate as well as amusing.  I might write up a post one day with toothless people.  Feel free to steal it and use as your own. :)

                  Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

        2. Your arguments are completely illogical. First of all us “extremists” consist of people from all walks of life. To make a general statement saying that people who are against the CC are extremists is in one word, idiotic. As far as questioning the curriculum in the past, well, um, duh…… there was no need to since it has basically been the same forever. Let me put this into words even you can understand. Let’s say the government institutes a law tomorrow stating no one is allowed to drive a car and instead the only mode of transportation that people can use is airplanes. Would it be illogical to state that before instituting the flying of planes, people should be given flying lessons, not just instructed to look up some manual on the internet. Obviously, “since you had the wherewithal” to write such a long rant against us “extremists” you’re intelligent enough to know this: Reading such standards written by a third party that has absolutely no connection to local schools and the actual implementation of those standards are two completely different things. Let me guess, you’re a member of BESE, aren’t you?

  7. Mr Cook says :”Incoherent, disorganized chaos dosen’t describe the LDOE as much as it describes the thinking and arguments of CCSS opponents/conspiracy theorists.”

    wow. Mr. Cook, I am not a conspiracy theorists, yet I don’t agree with Common Core. Be careful how you lump people together, that is a drastic assumption on your part.

  8. It would have been nice if the person who transferred this to print would have checked it over before publication. Arne Duncan quote has a problem in “Obamas” instead of “Obama’s” goal. Maybe under Common Core English has been thrown out with every common discipline. Pretty soon with texting we will be able to communicate with each other without saying anything intelligible or readable.

    1. Thank you Jay. You made an excellent demonstration about why proponents of CCSS have no true defense except to insult and ridicule others.  Incidentally you left off an entire word.  You should have writen “The” Arne Duncan quote. .  . Or have we removed definite articles under CCSS?

      Thanks for commenting. You made an excellent point, unintentionally.

      Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

  9. In response to Peter Cook – Did you know that Louisiana was required to design, develop and implement statewide preschool through work force longitudinal data systems in order to receive Race to the Top Funding? Private information such as healthcare history, religious affiliation, disciplinary issues, voting status, etc. – over 400 data points in all are being collected on our children – makes the NSA look tame. In 2012 the U.S. Department of Education altered the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act to allow sharing of your child’s private information with 3rd parties. I don’t care whether you are Tea Party, bleeding heart liberal, Independent – this is wrong.

    1. Debbie, the data collection you’re talking about is separate from the CCSS. Both of them may have been required for Race to the Top funding, but they’re two totally different requirements. One does not in anyway affect the other.

      1. Julie – sorry but you are incorrect. RTTT=Common Core=data collection and sharing. Without a national data base which is JUSTIFIED by CCSS how are state comparisons made and so-called beneficial analyses made by third parties (education vendors) who will know more about what our children read, see, think, feel or need than parents or teachers do? The data piece may not be or have to be mandated for it to be an essential element in the initiative. Hence the silence by White (lies and subterfuge) about his participation in the inBloom (Wireless Generation) partnership and his denial of the LDE participation in the federally funded National workforce Development Quality Data Initiative. White told James Garvey he knew nothing about it. I FOIAd La. workforce Development Commission, got the names of White’s three employees participating. Subsequently FOIAd LDE and weeks later got the contract a WHITE signed 8/2012 and list of personal student data he is supplying. It doesn’t have to bite you in the face for it to be lurking behind the door!

  10. Thank you so much Jason for being part of this opposition to CCSSI – we know it is an INITIATIVE that has to be stopped. We are not misinformed, we know what the CCSS INITIATIVE is and we REJECT IT.

    1. I tried to keep an open mind but i don’t see any credible argument for it, a lot of reasons to oppose it, and ZERO true local engagement from our elected officials and DOE staff that support it. They unquestioningly support something they don’t understand because they have been paid to, instructed to, or feel obligated to or because it does not effect them, not because they believe in it.  When you identify a problem that does not mean there is only one solution and we must accept the only one they are offering, especially when it comes with so many strings and pitfalls. The lack of transparency, accountability, Democratic process and desire to improve education and actual dialogue with stakeholders is evident in full force in the way this has been hurriedly rolled out and rammed down our throats. I am not a proponent of the do anything first, ask questions and repair a mangled process later approach.  These are actual.students forced to learn.this curriculum and actual teachers lives and livelihoods tied to tests on this curriclum that no one has taken responsibility for properly preparing them for.  The apparent objective is not to succeed, bug to fail and punish students, teachers and parents.  You can be sure parents are the next in the list to be blamed, because Reformers are never wrong and never take responsibility for anything, no matter how cataclysmic the failures (like RSD – eventual state takeover of all local schools once they are all declared failing by CCSS tests.)

      Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

  11. Why implement something they, themselves admit may not work. The system we have now works. It is evident because Governor Jindal, President Obama, the ones who made up Common Core and every other living American has gone through it. It fails when the student decides he or she does not want to study and the parent does not want to help their child progress. The blame cannot all fall on the teachers. This is America and yes all people are created equal, but people decide themselves when they give up equality when they stop trying or working to accomplish their goals. Life is to easy now because everything is given to them by the government. The Federal Government should have no right telling schools what and how to teach. Mr. Cook, you seem like an intelligent man…did you go to a secret school that implemented Common Core before it’s time or did you work hard for your education? The Federal and State is squeezing citizens so hard before long you will have no choice, but to depend and answer to them for everything. We do have a Constitution. It was put there for a reason. We are starting to see the reason now. No I’m am not a republican or democrat. I am independent. I look at what’s right, period….. Common Core is wrong by all accounts.

  12. Common Core is so frustrating for parents. I now come home from a full time job, to three children in three different grades struggling with school work. Apparently, Common core automatically gave me a position as a substitute teacher. We are spending four hours each afternoon doing homework that should take us an hour. I am having to reteach my kids what they are learning in class to make sure they GRASP what they are being taught. Then they cry that I am not teaching them the way (or method) that they were shown in class. .If our students are moving so fast and don’t grasp what they are being taught, moving on is just setting them up for failure. After getting our first progress report this year, their confidence levels have dropped. My nine year old has always loved school. This year he comes home and tells me he is not smart. My twelve year old begs me to homeschool him. At the end of the day, instead of coming home to enjoy my family, I come home to tears and fits. I am not sure how many parents will continue to do this. They are going to give up!!! I believe we are setting them up for failure.

    1. This is the impact of not phasing in this curriculum but forcing it upon all grade levels all at once. No consideration was made for parents being able to help their children either. I have heard this story repeated many times, so know that you are not alone.

      It is very important that the governors office hears this, because that is where the direction for all our education initiatives, including CCSS, comes from.

      You can also contact your local legislators and the legislators on the education committee as well as well as your BESE representative, but if the governor’s office is not swayed, none of those folks will have the power to help you on their own.

      If you want to change our course, you and your neighbors must all reach out and educate your political representatives before they miseducate your children.

      Here is the link to find your legislators if you don’t already know who they are or have their contact info. http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/FindMyLegislators.aspx

      Here is the house education committee: http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Cmtes/H_CMTE_ED.asp

      Here is the Senate Education Committee: http://senate.la.gov/Education/Assignments.asp

      Here are the BESE members: http://bese.louisiana.gov/about-bese/bese-members

      And here is the governors staff/policy advisors. I believe Stafford Palmieri is the education liaison.


      You might also try contacting your local superintendents and voicing your concerns. All of those folks will communicate your dissatisfaction to LDOE and John White.

    2. Our govt is destroying the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. This was the only thing on Obamas adgenda when he ran for president..
      All the people that voted for him will soon learn they made a huge mistake………………………. All we can do is fight the govt and refuse this way of teachings. get back to the simple ways kids understand. When God was taken out of schools we started to lose our children. Look what is happening to our schools since prayer is not allowed. every crazy psycho that goes
      coo coo wants to shoot up schools and teachers.
      The govt needs to have better mental health care for people. Stop trying to dictate all of our lives. Everything I have seen happen since Obama has backfired and cost trillions of dollars. From education to healthcare to religion. We were a christian nation. Now they are trying to reform ev1 into muslim world and fighting tooth and nail to convert ev1 in the U.S.A. Until we all ( every state, town, city in AMERICA join together and say enough is enough.) we are doomed. Prayers for all. I am a grandmother raising grand kids and it is very difficult now days. Prayers for you and yours.

      1. Bonnie,

        I’m not sure Obama was trying to destroy the government, but his overreaching is definitely making me appreciate federalism more and the separation between federal and state powers, and to yearn for more local control – not just at the federal level but from state mandates and dictates as well.

        I voted for him, and I do regret what he is/has become, but I don’t feel I had a different, credible choice. ObamaCare is the same system Romney instituted for Massachusetts RomneyCare when he was Governor there and Romney did not differ on education policies. If anything, Romeny’s education policies were even more extreme and damaging. . . although perhaps he would have allowed Mormonism to be taught in schools? :)

        I don’t believe religion and religious values should be taught or tested in public schools. Can you imagine CCSS for Christianity?

        I would rather my kids learn those values from home and at my/their church, not a public school. I believe our founding fathers wanted separation of church and state for a reason. Even among Christians we have warred with each other over seemingly minor differences – between Catholics and Protestants for instance. Muslims have the same issues with Sunni, Shiite and Alawite sects. Religion is a transnational affiliation and unless you want the government deciding what religious laws to enforce, and who can be a preacher, minister or priest – you are better off if government and religion mix as little as possible.

        1. Do you think a majority of the parents of children in Louisiana would be considered “tolerant” of anything other than Christianity though? Have you talked to any recently? Louisiana is an EXTREMELY Christian state,

      2. Bonnie – It sounds like you need to make a choice outside of PUBLIC education. Like it or not we are a nation of immigrants. Religion is not prohibited from public schools by the way. Proselytizing for a specific doctrine or religion is prohibitive for teachers. Teaching “values” is not restricted to teaching religion. I believe you “value” the Constitution don’t you? Tolerance (not blind acceptance however) is Minimal these days. Your blanket condemnation of Muslims or any other faith based on the actions of some sects is misguided. I don’t condemn Christians for Jim Jones or Catholics for Hitler. Humans of all sizes and color seem to have a nasty streak in them. I don’t plan to leave the plant myself.

  13. Ascension Parish parents need to make it a point to be at the school board meeting October 1st to openly discuss Common Core!

    1. I have to wonder if the timing of these meetings is planned. I know for the first “Parent University” held at the Gonzales Library to discuss cc, we parents were only given a nine day notice and it was held on a Saturday when the all kids in the parish had a long weekend. I was unable to attend because we were on a cruise that we had planned well in advance. This recent school board meeting is being held smack dab in the middle of benchmarks, so many parents, especially those who work, will have to decide whether to help their kids prepare for a benchmark test or attend the meeting.

  14. “Parents have had no information regarding Common Core. No informational meetings, no written material sent home, no formal venue to be introduced to and ask questions about Common Core. Therefore, at first they made the assumption that it was in the best interest of their children. As homework began to come home, they realized they were less and less able to help. Just now are we seeing parents rising up and contacting their principals, administration, and school board members, asking to know what Common Core is, explaining how it is affecting their children.”

    This quote speaks volumes – we got a flyer sent home 3 bullets about CC. That was it. My child has F’s in everything related to this CC stuff and there seems no way to right this ship. I have spent a fortune now to enroll her in Sylvan . I feel absolutely helpless and I have a child that is frustrated and has given up. We google the problems sent home to virtually no avail. Completely at a loss……

    1. That is depressing, Stephanie. I’m sorry. No wonder parents are so upset by this. My wife taught first and second grade so we have a leg up, and she can help our kids although I am a bit puzzled by the strange math assignments, but this does not sounds fair to the majority of parents.

  15. “I belive in letting everyones voice being heard”
    This statement is a decidedly Western school of thought…and exactly why people in this state believe that dinosaurs co-existing with humans deserves an equal voice in textbooks. I think this state has taken the “every voice being heard” idea as a challenge to race to the bottom.

    1. I said they can be heard, not accepted or promoted. I’m not afraid of letting people speak their minds.  More of a general principal. Who do you think should be allowed to speak and what opinions are valid or worthy of being discussed? Is that your job?

      Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

      1. I think when religion and politics have to enter the public school system or when religion enters day to day government, there’s just no place for that is all I wish to express. It fails in other states and pretty spectacularly in Louisiana.

        1. I believe I made a comment regarding separation of church and state in this thread. Even within Christianity there is a lot of variation. It is best to keep them separated. We don’t want our government picking our priests, and if you mix the two, that is what you will get.

          1. I just read Jindal is suddenly against the Common Core. Federal overreach he says. I smell yet another attempt at a presidential nom. What say you?

            1. As far as I am concerned, because of his inept handling of this (and other issues) he has BLOWN any national political aspirations. Not only will the left oppose him but also the right.

  16. Samantha Thibodeaux is my daughter and she speaks from experience being an educator.We always encouraged our children to be what they wanted to be but to be the best there is.As she stated she is pursuing her doctorate in education, our oldest son is also pursuing his doctorate in Industrial hygeneist field;we have one daughter who is a retired RN.Our youngest daughter is the state director for NFIB which is a lobbying group for small business.As someone stated that the old system needed to be changed so we could compete in the global environment.I’ve known several people who have benefitted from our old system,let me name a few,Bill Clinton,Barack Obama,Bobby Jindal,Bill Gates and the list could go on forever.If it ain’t broke leave it alone.

  17. I am a parent to children in the public school system of EBR. I do not profess that No Child Left Behind was the answer to all of our problems, but neither is CCSS.

    I have seen the change in curriculum and the change in the workload for both teachers and students.

    Parents and students with hours more homework than last year teaching old concepts, but in new foreign difficult ways- that is the norm now.

    I have done the research, asked the questions, etc. No one has the answers. Not teachers, principals, administrators, no one. They all raise their hands in defeat stating this is what they were told to do.

    I am not a proponent of raising sheep. My children are not farm animals or in a flock. I want what is best for them all. CCSS is not the answer.

    Do we need nation-wide education reform? Of course. Is Louisiana one of the worst? Obviously. Is the USA falling behind other countries? Yes. Is the system flawed and corrupt? Unfortunately.

    But, do I think that my government leaders should be leading the education of my children? No.

    CCSS should go.

  18. One question to the individuals who are ok with common core standards: Do yall currently have young children or are yall educators in the public school system? If the answer is “no”, then you have no idea what kind of havoc CCSS is reaping on our children.

  19. She is right on every point. I’m glad she mentioned the ridiculous PGP. I am motivated to learn and grow everyday, and that is necessary as an educator. I’ve gotten a Master’s and plan on a Doctorate. Why do Teachers have so much senseless paperwork? CCSS may be the end of my career. In French Immersion, students are not at the same language level as there “made in France” counterparts, but I will be evaluated on students working at “higher” levels in all aspects by people not fluent in the language. I don’t use center time daily. I have a small class and we often work all together. If my unannounced visit comes on a day when I’m not doing centers, I’ll have to shift gears and maybe lose instructional time just so they can see most things on the checklist that Danielson herself is opposed to using this way. I’m glad I wasn’t the one who authored something that is fundamentally being used to end careers.

  20. I am nothing more than an American plain & simple. And I know 1st hand how core is not the way to go. My child went to a public school last yr & b/c of common core & the lack of experienced staff he didn’t receive the education he should of. I went to EBR school board, state dept of education & US dept of education to be told the exact same response, ” we are so sorry & we know the system is extremely flawed but we aren’t going to do anything about it.” This is nothing more than a rat race that is fueled by the all mighty $. The only person that gets hurt are the KIDS!!! So drop your political views & do what’s RIGHT for the KIDS!

  21. We will be missing the boat if we continue to characterize this as Obamacare and politic using it! That is putting a weapon in the hands of reformers. Fact it that U.S. sec of Ed Duncan is a democrat in the Obama administration who uses his power to buy his elitist reform agenda. Fact is that Jeb Bush, Republican, backed by Conservative Primarily Republican ALEC and Republican governors OWN reform and Common Core. The press will continue to politicize this battle that must be fought by a growing bipartisan and informed population of parents and educators who are fighting for a quality public education system for their children. Blame won’t get us where we want to go anymore than it is getting Washington ANYWHERE. I fir one am not looking to trade what some characterize as a socialist takeover of our public schools for a conservative bible based approach to constitutional worship. Neither should prevail in the classroom. When this battle us won we had better be careful that the war does not continue with one ideology fighting another for predominance. Public schools are designed for ALL children. Parents who want a religious or politically slanted education or indoctrination for their children have other choices. Stop Common Core by Stopping the divisive arguments focused on isolated lesson plans and reading materials. Those issues can be resolved when we regain local control of our schools and curriculum.

  22. To those who have said that the standards were published and complete before Jindal and others signed on, maybe someone needs to tell Bill Gates, “GATES: Fortunately, the state-led Common Core State Standards Initiative is developing clear, rigorous common standards that match the best in the world. Last month, 46 Governors and Chief State School Officers made a public commitment to embrace these common standards.” IS DEVELOPING. Doesn’t this mean not finished? Am I missing something? These comments can be heard in his statements from the video I posted when he spoke to the National Conference of State Legislators in 2009.

  23. Tonight was the first meeting of Common Core held by APSB. Of course, Supt. Pujol gave a presentation on the wonderful benefits and had her minions speak. But parents were informed and fired up. It is sad that this is the first opportunity that parents in Ascension have had to speak.

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