White weighs in on Common Core

St. Mary Parish Superintendent of Schools Donald Aguillard, left, and State Superintendent of Schools John White chat during a tour of Hattie Watts Elementary School in Patterson on Monday.
(The Daily Review Photo by Crystal Thielepape)

By JEAN L. McCORKLE jmccorkle@daily-review.com

While State Superintendent of Schools John White was in St. Mary Parish Monday, he answered a few questions about the current state of affairs in Louisiana education.
—With the current state of the economy, what does that mean for Minimum Foundation Program funding?
“No question. We’ve got to protect funding for K-12 education. We’re going to try everything we have to make sure that’s what happens.”
—On the topic of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests, aligned with Common Core standards, what are we taking this year? We’re not taking the official PARCC tests are we?
“Yes we are.”
—Do we have that test?
—What happens to a school system, or a child or a parent who decides they want to opt out of that test?
“We’ve always had parents who decided they didn’t want to test. There’s always been a small number. There is a law that says you have to send your kids to school. There is a federal law that says we have to count the kid in the testing system.
“If a parent wants to opt-out, we should just talk to them. Just like if a parent doesn’t want to send their kid on a field trip, just talk to them. Have a dialog. That’s what education is supposed to be about.”
—Are there any repercussions if a parent says they still don’t want their child to test?
“Well I think you don’t get good information that I think most parents want for their kids. But, look, this is a system that is supposed to work on behalf of the parents. When they express a need or a concern about their child, it’s our job to talk to them.”
—Some entire districts are considering opting out. What happens if an entire district says they’re not participating?
“I think that’s an unprecedented step that would mean the loss of tens of millions of dollars for that school system, and I highly doubt a school system would want to do that.”

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