Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has hit back at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, saying the governor’s newfound opposition to Common Core s is built purely on political opportunism.
In an appearance on “CBS This Morning,” Duncan accused Jindal of thinking less about the best interests of children and more about 2016.
“Gov. Jindal was a passionate supporter [of Common Core] before he was against it,” Duncan said. “That situation is about politics, it’s not about education. And frankly that’s part of the problem.” Duncan also emphasized that, despite support from the Department of Education, Common Core is a “state-led initiative” that was voluntarily adopted and not forced onto states.
Jindal was a major factor behind Louisiana’s decision to adopt the Common Core standards in 2010, being one of the 40 sitting governors at the time who helped drive its creation. He remained a supporter as recently as last year.
With backlash growing on the right, Jindal has decisively joined the camp opposed to Common Core. In April, he wrote an op-ed comparing the standards to the practices of Soviet Russia, and last week he vetoed a bill that opponents said would entrench Common Core.
Duncan isn’t the first person to accuse Jindal’s turn of being less than sincere. Chas Roemer, the current president of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (and a fellow Republican), asserted in May that Jindal’s defection on Common Core merely “presidential politics.”
Foes of Common Core were naturally eager to defend the sincerity of Jindal’s switch, and criticize Duncan for involving himself in a supposedly state-led initiative.
“Governor Jindal has come to realize what more and more governors and states are learning – Common Core and the national testing consortia are Obama administration initiatives with numerous federal bureaucratic strings attached,” Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Pioneer Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. ”If Common Core was genuinely ‘state-led’ and ‘voluntary,’ as its DC-based advocates like to claim, then why does the U.S. Secretary of Education immediately threaten or scold any state heading for the exit door?”
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