Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal Blasts Common Core, But Parents Demand Action
On Friday Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) once again blasted the Common Core standards and the federal overreach that comes along with them, but he says his office is “still finalizing our options” on how to extricate the state from both the nationalized standards and the PARCC Common Core test consortium.
“It is time for the Department of Education to come up with a Plan B,” Jindal said in an interview, according to The Advocate. “I am committed to getting us out of PARCC, out of Common Core.”
Jindal’s further criticism of the Common Core comes one day after Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a bill that made her state the first to fully repeal the standards without “rebranding” them. Oklahoma schools will revert to their old PASS standards until new standards are developed, and the new standards must be proven to be sufficiently unlike the Common Core.
Similarly, Gov. Nikki Haley (R) of South Carolina has signed a bill to drop the Common Core standards and replace them with new standards in the 2015-2016 school year. Until then, the Common Core will remain in place.
As Breitbart News reported on June 3, the Louisiana state legislature rejected bills to abandon Common Core and PARCC. In fact, the language in bill HB953 is considered by both supporters and opponents of the standards as further binding the state to Common Core and the aligned PARCC multi-state assessments. At the same time, the bill, sponsored by Rep. Walt Leger (D), suspends the state’s accountability measures for three years.
Both state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education president Chas Roemer and State Superintendent of Education John White are ardent supporters of the Common Core standards, which are due to take full effect in the 2014-2015 school year.
Regarding Jindal, Roemer said, “He challenged the legislature, and the legislature didn’t agree with him. Our children deserve better than a Plan B.”
Similarly, White said Common Core has been in the planning stage for teachers and students for four years.
“They do not need a last-minute change,” White wrote. “They do not need chaos in the classroom.”
In a Teacher Leader Summit in New Orleans this past week, White gave a glowing defense of Common Core and presented a video of students and teachers speaking positively about the nationalized standards:
Nevertheless, White, a Teach for America alumnus, is under severe criticism and faces growing calls for his resignation after a combination of controversial issues, including one concerning test scores. Currently, a nola.com poll asking readers to rate White’s performance shows 82 percent of voters view his performance as “ineffective” and would like to see him resign.
Louisiana State Rep. Brett Geymann (R) is opposed to Common Core and, short of a veto of HB953, has outlined other ways Jindal can get his state out of the nationalized standards.
On Friday Geymann told Breitbart News he is encouraged by Jindal’s recent strong statements to end Louisiana’s relationship with Common Core and PARCC.
“I think the recent actions by South Carolina and Oklahoma are further indications that conservative states are rethinking their positions. It is obvious that this has become a national issue,” Geymann said. “We continue to encourage and support the Governor to take action and we firmly believe he has several options to do so. Anything short of a complete exit will be very disappointing to us and will not be reflective of his strong statements.”
Similarly, grassroots organizers who have worked to defeat Common Core in Louisiana are hoping Jindal will back up his words with solid action.
“While Governor Jindal's words today regarding his intent to get Louisiana out of PARCC testing are encouraging, we are still anxiously awaiting not only action by him but effective action,” parent Anna Arthurs told Breitbart News.
Similarly, Sara Wood told Breitbart News, “The legislature failed to act according to the will of the people and so we must rely on our elected Governor Jindal to respect and represent that will by taking any and all effective measures within his authority to get Louisiana out of Common Core and PARCC.”
“Our children need action now, not in another year,” Wood said.