One thing that’s become clear about much of the discussion surrounding Louisiana’s academic standards is that a lot of people seem to have opinions about them, but hardly anyone outside of the education community has read them. That’s too bad since politicians are making decisions about our expectations for students based on what a lot of people think about standards they’ve never read.
In response to all of that, BESE has implemented a process that allows every citizen the opportunity to review our academic standards and submit substantive comments about them. It’s a very well thought out process that’s both transparent and driven by educators and professionals in the field. And it’s also a very public process that we, as the public, should all participate in.
Academic standards are at the very heart of the education we provide our children. They represent the expectations we set for students to ensure that they are on a smooth path through each grade toward a goal of being prepared to pursue a career and training after high school or a continuation of their education towards a higher degree.
So if we are going to continue to have a political debate about our standards, it behooves us to have some sense of what our standards actually are and to tell our education leaders what we think about them in a substantive and serious way. You can do both of those things by going to the BESE-established website
What you’ll find when you get there is that standards aren’t some esoteric thing you keep hearing about. They are real life, real world expectations of what students should be able to accomplish at every grade level. What you’ll also find is that there are a lot of standards because they cover students all the way from kindergarten through 12th grade, and some of them can seem somewhat technical.
So to make things a little easier, CABL has created a
Stakeholders’ Guide to Standards Review
which is designed to streamline the process and help the average citizen weigh in on our standards in a more meaningful and time-effective way.
The brief guide shows participants how to get started, helps them navigate the website and suggests some standards to review that might be of interest to various business sectors and civic leaders. Reviewing and commenting on every standard can take a long time, but the guide can assist citizens in prioritizing some of the standards and finding ones to look at that may be of the greatest interest to them.
The standards we set for our children’s learning are incredibly important. They set the stage for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, much of the discussion about them over the last couple of years has been reduced to political fodder. The review process currently underway is a way to reboot all of that, allow us all to participate in a much more meaningful way and elevate the debate to a level far more appropriate than much of what we’ve seen.
If we care about our children and the future of our state, we should take advantage of this opportunity.