Gov. Jindal asks PARCC to withdraw from Louisiana

Gov. Jindal asks PARCC to withdraw from Louisiana

Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal sent a letter to the Partnership of Assessments for College and Career Readiness asking the organization to immediately withdraw from the State of Louisiana.
Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal sent a letter to the Partnership of Assessments for College and Career Readiness asking the organization to immediately withdraw from the State of Louisiana.

Gov. Jindal issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to begin a competitive process to purchase a new assessment and called on the Department of Education and the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education to develop Louisiana standards for the Legislature to approve next legislative session.
 
The Governor said the state is no longer committed to implementing the PARCC assessment in the 2014-15 school year, rendering it unable to comply with the terms of the June 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between the State and PARCC. In addition, several changes have occurred since the MOU was signed that make Louisiana's membership in conflict with Louisiana law. He also cited teacher dissatisfaction and concerns over one-size fits all federal standards, and highlighted that the federal government has rushed its implementation.
 
Governor Jindal said, "It's time for PARCC to withdraw from Louisiana. We won't let the federal government take over Louisiana's education standards. We're very alarmed about choice and local control over curriculum being taken away from parents and educators.  Common Core has not been fully implemented yet in Louisiana, and we need to start the process over. It was rushed in the beginning and done without public input.
 
"Additionally, proponents weren't up front about federal involvement in PARCC and Common Core. Now that we understand the federal overreach involved, we need to slow down and make the right decision. Some Common Core proponents suggest that we cannot have high standards without Common Core.  That is a false statement. We need a Louisiana test that ensures children are performing at high levels so they can compete not only around the country, but around the world. We can certainly have high standards without giving up control of Louisiana's education system to the federal government.
 
"If other states want to allow the federal government to dictate to them, they have every right to make that choice. But education is a primary responsibility of states, and we will not cede this responsibility to the federal government."
 
The Governor said the MOU does not allow for a competitive bid process for the test, which is required under Louisiana law. Additionally, other vendors have entered the market that offer comparable assessments at lower costs and allow greater input from, and accountability to, the states that hire them. Louisiana law requires the state to choose the lowest cost responsive bidder.
 
As a result of these conflicts, the Governor took the following actions to ensure that Louisiana maintains control of its assessments and complies with its own laws:
 
1. Issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to conduct a competitive process to purchase a new assessment and which prohibits the expenditure of funds on cooperative group purchasing organizations and interstate agreements;
 
2. Suspended the rules adopted by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from May 2014 to ensure that the Louisiana Department of Education is able to comply with Louisiana competitive bid law;
 
3. Instructed the Division of Administration to conduct a comprehensive accounting of all Louisiana expenditures and resources on PARCC, what services or products have been received in return for such expenditures, and copies of all contracts in place or in negotiation for the purchase of an assessment;
 
4. Issued a Request for Information to PARCC requesting information about the procurement processes utilized by the consortium, by the Fiscal Agent state, and by the Lead Procurement State to ensure that these processes complied with Louisiana law;
 
5. Notified the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governor's Association (NGA) of Louisiana's termination of participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
 
The Governor sent the following letter to PARCC outlining these actions:
 
June 18, 2014
 
Dear Commissioner Chester,
 
This letter is to request that the Partnership of Assessments for College and Career Readiness (PARCC) immediately withdraw from the State of Louisiana. The State of Louisiana is no longer committed to implementing the PARCC assessment in the 2014-15 school year, rendering it unable to comply with the terms of the June 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between the State and PARCC. In addition, several changes have occurred since the MOU was signed that make Louisiana's membership in conflict with Louisiana law.
 
First, PARCC's Cooperative Agreement with the United States Department of Education (USDOE) includes terms that would remove Louisiana's control over its assessments, and thereby its curriculum and pedagogy. While PARCC has assured states that curriculum is a local matter, the reality is what is assessed is what is taught and PARCC has a funding agreement with USDOE for $186 million. Laws enacted during the 2014 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature specifically authorize local education agencies to develop curriculum, content and methodology in lieu of any curriculum developed by the state board and prohibit the sharing of identifiable student information.
 
Second, there are several other vendors who have entered the market and who are now offering comparable assessment products at potentially lower cost and with greater input from, and accountability to, the individual states who hired them. Louisiana law requires the state to choose the lowest cost responsive bidder and to maintain control of the contract through which state taxpayer dollars will be expended. Neither of these criteria is met under the contracting arrangement of PARCC through a Fiscal Agent and/or Lead Procurement State.
 
Third, several of the RFPs issued on behalf of PARCC were done so by other states, without the opportunity for Louisiana to ensure that these processes were handled in a method that complies with Louisiana's competitive bid law. Louisiana's MOU with PARCC and PARCC's Cooperation Agreement with USDOE require PARCC to utilize competitive bid processes that comply with the laws of each member state and federal law.
 
Fourth, strict compliance with the MOU will prevent Louisiana from observing its competitive bid law for the procurement of the assessment itself. Louisiana law prohibits public procurement units from entering into cooperative purchasing agreements "for the purpose of circumventing" the Procurement Code (La. R.S. 39:1708). The MOU states specifically that each Governing State must agree to use the PARCC tests and to adopt them into its accountability and teacher evaluation systems, which is against Louisiana law if done without a competitive process. Louisiana cannot be a member of a cooperative purchasing agreement that requires, as a condition of membership, it buy the agreement's product, especially before the product was even developed, and at an unknown cost at the time of execution.
 
Therefore, I have taken the following actions to ensure that Louisiana maintains control of its assessments and complies with its own laws:
 
1. I have issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to conduct a competitive process to purchase a new assessment and which prohibits the expenditure of funds on cooperative group purchasing organizations and interstate agreements.
 
2. I have suspended the rules adopted by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from May 2014 to ensure that the Louisiana Department of Education is able to comply with Louisiana competitive bid law;
 
3. I have instructed the Louisiana Division of Administration to conduct a comprehensive accounting of all Louisiana expenditures and resources on PARCC, what services or products have been received in return for such expenditures, and copies of all contracts in place or in negotiation for the purchase of an assessment.
 
4. I have issued a Request for Information to PARCC requesting information about the procurement processes utilized by the consortium, by the Fiscal Agent state, and by the Lead Procurement State to ensure that these processes complied with Louisiana law.
 
5. I have notified the Council for Chief State School Officers and the National Governor's Association of Louisiana's termination of participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
 
I will pursue cancellation of this MOU through all means necessary.
 
Sincerely,
 
Bobby Jindal
Governor
 



Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus