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article imageLouisiana Governor does an about-face on Common Core standards

By Karen Graham     Jun 18, 2014 in Politics
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, in a complete about-face, announced on Wednesday his plans to remove Louisiana schools from the nation's Common Core English and math standards. The move would make Louisiana the fourth state to withdraw this year.
While Governor Jindal was signing the executive order withdrawing the bayou state from Common Core, John White, the state's Superintendent of Schools pointed out the governor couldn't just, out of the blue, remove the state from the standards.
So now, dissension is brewing, with the Governor, a one-time proponent of the standards on one side, and an educational system that has put a lot of time and effort into trying to make the standards work, on the other.
“The state will continue to implement the Common Core Standards… this is a long term plan we have been working on for four years and committed to another 10 years of implementation. We are not willing to subject our children to last minute changes to throw our system into educational chaos,” White said.
Jindal, a Republican, is going against the wishes of business and civic groups in Louisiana who want the state to keep the Common Core standards, and even U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was up in arms, accusing Jindal of "flip-flopping" on the issue after previously being in full support of the standards.
Jindal, in a statement said, "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. If other states want to allow the federal government to dictate to them, they have every right to make that choice." His use of the word "we" is rather ambiguous, unless he means other Republicans in the legislature.
Jindal used his order in defiance of state lawmakers who support the national education standard that also requires competitive bidding for the tests tied to the standards. Jindal's move will probably block a Common Core-tied testing program called PARCC for students in the third through eighth grades. The tests, administered by PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), have not been purchased yet, and Jindal was quick to point out how expensive they are.
The governor has instructed the state legislature to develop its own set of education standards at the next legislative session to replace the Common Core. He further said the state had every right to back out of the 2010 agreement to work with PARCC because later changes to that deal "make Louisiana’s membership in conflict with Louisiana law."
"... proponents weren’t up front about federal involvement in PARCC and Common Core," Jindal said. "Now that we understand the federal overreach involved, we need to slow down and make the right decision. Some Common Core proponents suggest that we cannot have high standards without Common Core. That is a false statement."
Now that Louisiana is coming full circle in its implementation of the standards, the issue has suddenly become a political hot potato. Jindal, a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, has apparently decided to take on the issue of the federal government having too much control over the education of the nation's youth, when it should belong to the states.
While Jindal's move in backing out of the Common Core standards appeared to come as a surprise, Louisiana is not alone in rejecting the standards. Indiana, South Carolina and Oklahoma have all backed out of the Common Core requirements with the backing of their legislatures. Nebraska, Texas, Virginia and Arkansas never signed on for Common Core, and Minnesota is only using parts of the standards. Nine other states are in the process of repealing their participation in Common Core.
More about Louisiana, common core, PARCC, Federal Government, control of curriculum
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