NOT SO COMMON: Jindal Gettin’ Louisiana Out Of Common Core

The controversial Common Core State Standards have been an issue for Gov. Bobby Jindal, lawmakers, parents and teachers ever since they were implemented. But, Jindal is looking to rid the state of the nationally recognized standards that he once approved of.

The Common Core State Standards were adopted by the state in 2010, encompassing English language arts (ELA) and math. Full implementation of the standards did not come until this past school year, bypassing a transitional year that was originally planned.

Just after Jindal vetoed legislation by Rep. Walt Leger (D), which would have essentially cemented Common Core and it’s test-taking counterpart, the Partnership of Assessments for College and Career Readiness (PARCC), the Louisiana governor is saying that he, himself, will get the state out of Common Core.

But, how exactly is Jindal going to do that? And is this an issue that may get tied up in court, as State Superintendent John White has hinted at?

Well, Jindal has sent a letter to the PARCC Commissioner demanding that he withdraw the assessment from the state, which would then indirectly withdraw Common Core from the state, being that the two go hand-in-hand.

This letter is to request that the Partnership of Assessments for College and Career Readiness (PARCC) immediately withdraw from the State of Louisiana. The State of Louisiana is no longer committed to implementing the PARCC assessment in the 2014-15 school year, rendering it unable to comply with the terms of the June 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between the State and PARCC. In addition, several changes have occurred since the MOU was signed that make Louisiana’s membership in conflict with Louisiana law.

Jindal said that he has taken the following actions to make sure that the state complies with its own laws and maintains control of its curriculum, standards and assessments.

1. I have issued an executive order that instructs the Louisiana Department of Education to conduct a competitive process to purchase a new assessment and which prohibits the expenditure of funds on cooperative group purchasing organizations and interstate agreements.

2. I have suspended the rules adopted by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from May 2014 to ensure that the Louisiana Department of Education is able to comply with Louisiana competitive bid law;

3. I have instructed the Louisiana Division of Administration to conduct a comprehensive accounting of all Louisiana expenditures and resources on PARCC, what services or products have been received in return for such expenditures, and copies of all contracts in place or in negotiation for the purchase of an assessment.

4. I have issued a Request for Information to PARCC requesting information about the procurement processes utilized by the consortium, by the Fiscal Agent state, and by the Lead Procurement State to ensure that these processes complied with Louisiana law.

5. I have notified the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA) of Louisiana’s termination of participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

White, a proponent of Common Core, though, said Jindal does not have the legal authority to pull the apparent “one-size-fits-all” standards out of the state.

Parents across the state have long criticized the state standards as being intrusive to student privacy rights and have lambasted the PARCC Assessment as a vehicle for the federal government to sell student data to private companies for profit.

Just after Jindal made the announcement, he immediately got back-up from fellow Republicans in the state.

Craig McCulloch, who is running for the 6th Congressional District seat, said Jindal did the right thing in removing the state from Common Core.

“Gov. Jindal’s decision to withdraw PARC from Louisiana & terminate our relationship with common core was the right thing to do,” said  McCulloch. “No Washington bureaucrat knows how to educate our children better than the teachers and parents of the Sixth District. We need to equip local schools, empower parents with choice and reward our outstanding teachers. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to education and the federal government has no business meddling in Louisiana’s education system.”

And State Rep. Paul Hollis (R-Mandeville) agreed, comparing Common Core to Obamacare.

“Common Core is just another overt attempt by the federal government to control our lives and plan our future,” said Rep. Hollis.  “And just like Obamacare, Common Core is doomed to fail.

Jindal’s decision to get the state out of Common Core is nothing new for Republican governors across the country. Most recently, Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation that will fully repeal Common Core, the first state to do so in the country. The bill requires that new standards be developed and they must be “sufficiently” different than those of the Common Core.

South Carolina Repulican Gov. Nikki Haley has also blasted Common Core. She just signed a bill that will drop the controversial state standards and replace them with new ones in time for the 2015-2016 school year. Until then, the standards will be used.

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