Louisiana Legislature Approves Common Core — But Jindal May Find a Way Out

Louisiana Legislature Approves Common Core — But Jindal May Find a Way Out

Although the Louisiana state legislature recently approved a bill whose language would cement the state to the Common Core standards and the PARCC multi-state assessments, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) could still veto the bill or choose one of several other options to extricate his state from the nationalized standards.

Louisiana’s HB953, sponsored by state Rep. Walt Leger (D), states the following:

F. (1)(d) Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, standards-based assessments implemented by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in English language arts and mathematics shall be based on nationally recognized content standards that represent the knowledge and skills needed for students to successfully transition to postsecondary education and the workplace and shall allow for comparison of student achievement with students in other states.

(e) Rigorous student achievement standards shall be set with reference to test scores of the same grade levels nationally…

(2)(e) The state board shall use such assessments based on nationally competitive standards to establish a statewide performance goal to be reached by 2025 and shall use such a goal as the basis for school and performance expectations.

“This legislation will cement in Common Core and the aligned assessments legislatively for Louisiana,” Emmett McGroarty, Education Director of American Principles Project (APP) told Breitbart News. “Even though ‘Common Core’ is not specifically mentioned in the bill, nothing else will fit the description of the ‘nationally recognized content standards… that allow for comparison of student achievement with students in other states.'”

The passage of the bill is considered by both Common Core supporters and opponents alike as a full endorsement of the nationalized standards and the PARCC multi-state assessments.

Interestingly, while binding the state to Common Core and PARCC, the bill suspends Louisiana’s accountability measures for three years.

Writing at lalegeeducation.com, Peter Cook surmises that “perhaps the decision to include this provision in the bill was strategic — seen by Leger as a necessary concession to win the support of key House Education Committee members for legislation that bolsters the case for PARCC.”

State Rep. Brett Geymann (R), who opposes the Common Core standards, hopes Jindal will veto the bill, but told Breitbart News that there are other ways the governor can allow the state to exit the standards and their associated assessments.

“Louisiana is under the same Memorandum of Understanding for Common Core and PARCC as Florida,” Geymann explained. “Gov. Rick Scott used an executive order to require his state’s agency to go out into the marketplace for a public bid on his state’s assessment.”

“With the bill that passed the Louisiana legislature,” Geymann continued, “PARCC is the sole source contract. I’m not in favor of national assessments, but if we have them, as a budget hawk, I’d want to go out into the marketplace and get the best deal. And with other states leaving PARCC, we have no idea how much this is going to cost us.”

Geymann also said that the PARCC contract falls under the Office of Contract Review, which is under the Office of Administration. Consequently, it is within the domain of the governor’s office, meaning Jindal could reject the PARCC contract.

Thirdly, Geymann said that Jindal is also within his rights to use an executive order to extricate the state from Common Core because the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (BESE) decision to adopt the standards was not in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

“Since that act has essentially been violated, Gov. Jindal could use that as grounds to remove the state from Common Core,” Geymann added. “The court could rule the adoption of the standards invalid. Parents could ask the court for an opinion on that issue.”

Jindal once supported the Common Core standards, but recently made statements opposing them. 

“I don’t want Louisiana to be in the Common Core,” the governor said last Thursday in New Orleans.

Anna Arthurs, an organizer of the grassroots group of parents and citizens fighting to defeat the Common Core standards, told Breitbart News, “When Rep. Geymann sponsored a bill to require the national assessment contract to go through the public bidding process like all other large state contracts, there was no assistance or phone calls from Gov. Jindal’s administration.”

“How can Gov. Jindal expect us to have complete faith in his newly stated intent to remove us from Common Core and PARCC when his actions so far have been opposite of these statements?” Arthurs asked.