“We want out of Common Core.” With that pronouncement, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday delivered a clear message to state residents.
On the heels of similar moves by Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, Jindal acted to make the Bayou State the fourth state to exit the national education standards known as Common Core. Bypassing the legislature and issuing a series of executive orders, the Republican governor pulled Louisiana from Common Core and all federally subsidized standardized tests.
Some educators, however, are challenging the legal groundwork for the governor’s decision. John White, state superintendent of schools, argued that Jindal cannot unilaterally withdraw Louisiana from Common Core. He insisted the state will “continue to implement” the national standards.
Jindal struck back, citing subsequent changes to a 2010 agreement to work with PARCC, the state’s testing program tied to Common Core, as grounds for action. Those changes, he said, “make Louisiana’s membership in conflict with Louisiana law.”
Developed in 2009 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, Common Core was quickly incentivized by the Obama administration with $4.35 billion in Race to the Top competitive grants and waivers from the federal No Child Left Behind law for states that signed on.
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Jindal previously was a supporter of the Common Core standards, once praising them for raising “the expectations of every child.” Though he helped introduce the education standards to Louisiana, yesterday he displayed no qualms about changing his mind
We will not be bullied by the federal government. If other states want to allow the federal government to dictate to them, they have every right to make that choice.
The reasoning behind his change of heart? Jindal said:
We’re very alarmed about choice and local control of curriculum being taken away from our parents and educators. If other states want to allow the federal government to dictate to them, they have every right to make that choice.
Lindsey M. Burke, the Will Skillman education fellow at The Heritage Foundation, praised the possible Republican presidential contender for taking action:
“Parents have felt increasingly distanced from the decision-making process as Common Core implementation has unfolded,”Burke said. “Louisiana’s decision to fully exit Common Core ensures control of academic content remains close to those who have the most at stake in the academic achievement of Louisiana students: parents, teachers, and local school leaders.”
Withdrawing is only the first step in what is sure to be a long haul in revamping the state’s education system, Jindal said. “Today’s action gets us out of the Common Core,” he said, “but it’s not the ultimate solution.”