In a letter to President Obama dated September 11th, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said his state may apply for a federal pre-kindergarten grant of up to $15 million, as long as Obama assures him the funds are not linked to Common Core requirements.
Jindal wrote to Obama:
The Preschool Development Grants as published in the August 18, 2014, Federal Register…could offer an opportunity for Louisiana to expand access for parents who choose to send their children to early childhood programs. We want to ensure, however, that the grant contains no terms that would require Louisiana to use Common Core-aligned or federally or nationally sanctioned standards in the classrooms of our state’s early childhood program…Please confirm that there are no such conditions.
According to The Advocate, the deadline for the application for the funds in October 14th.
Last month, Jindal filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally manipulating states with federal grant money and regulations that forced them to adopt the Common Core standards.
In the lawsuit, Jindal, who once supported the Common Core standards, argued that the U.S. Department of Education, under Secretary Arne Duncan, used a $4.3 billion grant program known as Race to the Top (RttT) and federal policy waivers to entice states into adopting uniform “college and career ready” education standards and aligned testing. Jindal claims that action forced “states down a path toward a national curriculum” in violation of the Tenth Amendment and federal laws that bar national control of curriculum.
“The federal government has hijacked and destroyed the Common Core initiative,” Jindal said in a statement. “Common Core is the latest effort by big government disciples to strip away state rights and put Washington, D.C., in control of everything.”
As The Advocate reported in October of 2013, Jindal was criticized by Education’s Next Horizon, the Child Care Association of Louisiana, and the Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families for opting out of applying for up to $45 million in federal funding for pre-K classes last year. The grants were available to Louisiana and 35 other states through RttT’s Early Learning Challenge.
At that time, state superintendent John White, a supporter of the Common Core standards who has been in conflict with Jindal over the implementation of the controversial initiative in the state, said federal funding “has recently become a flashpoint for those concerned about federal overreach in Louisiana schools.”