Jindal Moves To Dump Common Core, Sparking La. Civil War

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Blake Neff Reporter
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And Bobby Jindal makes it four. Well, maybe.

The governor of Louisiana issued a series of executive orders Wednesday that seek to make Louisiana the fourth state this year to abandon Common Core multi-state educational standards.

In doing so, Jindal defies his state’s school board as well as the legislature, both of whom continued to back the standards this spring despite the governor urging them to reject them.

The state education establishment says it isn’t going down without a fight, however.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Jindal called Common Core a “radical departure” from past educational approaches and said he was acting to save the state’s sovereignty in the realm of education.

“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,” Jindal said. “We need to start the process over. It was rushed in the beginning and done without public input.”

Jindal enables the pullout with a series of executive orders. First, he ordered Louisiana’s withdrawal from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a multi-state consortium that was creating a shared test based on Common Core standards.

Jindal justified the disassociation by saying that the state’s previous involvement with PARCC violated a Louisiana law requiring an open bidding process to select the state’s standardized tests.

Jindal followed the test withdrawal by issuing a notification to the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association that Louisiana was disassociating with Common Core. He issued an order for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Department of Education to develop entirely new school standards to submit them to the legislature next spring for approval.

The legality of Jindal’s orders is being questioned, however. State superintendent of education John White, as well as the BESE president Chas Roemer, have both long insisted that determining educational standards is beyond Jindal’s control. Less than two hours after Jindal’s announcement, the Department of Education fired back with its own announcement that the state would continue implementing Common Core and the PARCC test as planned.

he announcement cited Louisiana’s constitution and state laws, which it said give the exclusive power to set state educational standards to the Department of Education and the BESE.

“By using test forms and questions that make results comparable among states, we are following the Legislature’s mandate that we not only measure but also compete,” White said in the statement.

One Common Core backer predicted that Jindal’s action will go nowhere.

“This is all political theater. Governor Jindal will score points with the tea party, but his actions seem likely to be stymied in court,” Michael Petrilli, executive vice president of the Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank that supports Common Core, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Jindal was a supporter of Common Core as recently as last year, but he has turned sharply against it this year, at one point likening it to the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union. His abrupt about-face has led to numerous people besides Petrilli to accuse Jindal of simply seeking political points on the right prior to a possible 2016 presidential run. On Tuesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that Jindal’s opposition was “all about politics.”

If Jindal’s attempted withdrawal is successful, Louisiana will join Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina on the list of states repudiating Common Core this year. Jindal would be the first to pull out unilaterally via executive order, however.

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