Yesterday Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced he was withdrawing from PARCC testing and pulling Louisiana out of Common Core because while we believe in high standards for our children, we do not believe in federally imposed one-size-fits-all standards. Almost immediately Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White and BESE President Chas Roemer released statements saying they were staying the course on implementing both PARCC and Common Core, regardless of Jindal’s declaration. This is where things get interesting. At the mundane level, both White and Roemer have asserted that Jindal has no power to prevent PARCC or Common Core form going forward or prevent BESE or LDOE from entering into exclusive multi-million dollar contracts that violated the state’s contract bidding laws. Jindal’s commissioner of Administration, Kristy Nichol’s stated the state would not be purchasing the Common Core tests and she temporarily suspended the contract with the state’s current testing vendor to ensure White did not direct them to buy the tests. I see this as an interesting chess match.

I knew this move by team Jindal was coming weeks ago, although I can’t disclose exactly how I knew it, and while I was actually surprised this happened on one level, I was completely expecting it. Watching how this happened behind the scenes has been very enlightening, but this was not an off-the-cuff maneuver, I assure you. The framework for this decision was being laid for weeks, if not months. Some folks pointed to White’s quick response as indication this is just a play put on for our benefit and for the benefit of the national stage and to garner some Fox News interviews. While I can’t say for sure that this is not pandering at some level, I don’t actually think that’s all this is. What’s more, I would not use White’s quick press release as proof that there is collusion on this issue. This move has been telegraphed for some time – probably to feel out the waters before taking the final plunge. I would have been more surprised if John White was caught flat-footed or if this withdrawal did not happen soon.

Listening to this Jindal speech I admit I was a little impressed by the lack of strained small-talk and superficial frills. It was different than more widely panned ones like his Kenneth the Page impression Presidential Rebuttal some years back. It’s not just experience that has improved his delivery, his recent red meat CPAC speech was also painful to listen to, if less head-in-palm-of-handable. (I made that term up, impressed?) No, this speech actually made sense and made him sound like a human, echoing lot of parents and talking points we’ve been saying for years. I actually believe he believes this, and frankly, Jindal is not a very good actor. Seriously. Moreover, this change brings him in alignment with his conservative, fight the Feds, local control loving rhetoric. (I wonder if he will appreciate my defense?) J

I’ve been asked if I’m afraid if Jindal, White and Chas are just putting on a show for us. I am not worried one bit. Regardless of whether this is an elaborate dance or not, I will still be here as will all of the parents opposing Common Core. Jindal obviously has higher aspirations than Louisiana Governor, of that there is no doubt. This decision puts Jindal and his resources squarely on our side . . . for once. If one of the most powerful Governors in the United States can’t make a decision on National Television and get his handpicked Board of Education and Superintendent to tow the line. . .eventually. This says way more about whether Bobby Jindal is ready for Primetime or just a Saturday Morning Cartoon. (Remember those?) Jindal must make this proclamation stick or he will have no friends and no accomplishments to overshadow his failure to lead and reverse the damage he created when he invited John White into our state.

Jindal has staked his entire political future, at least in the short term, to the elimination of Common Core and PARCC testing. While it’s true his legal record is not all the great, at least this time he is fighting on the side of the Constitution, not fighting to reinterpret it as he did in the MFP and tenure battles. This is a big win for us, but the fight is not over. One thing you can do to tip the scales in our favor for the future is vote out BESE members like Chas Roemer, and elect folks like me to take their place. It just so happens I am running to replace Chas in the 2015 election.

Go to www.jasonfrance4la.com to sign up, or mail a check to:

The Campaign to Elect Jason France (or just Jason France)

235 Marilyn Dr.
Baton Rouge LA 70815

PO BOX 46393

 

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8 thoughts on “Is Common Core Dead in Louisiana?

  1. Just wondering …so, pretty much everyone who has even thought about disagreeing with BJ in a public forum has been teagued in the past 6 years. While it’s true that White answers to BESE and can only be voted out by a super-majority (8/11), BJ has only to pick up the phone to accomplish that. He’d have the following votes that he controls: Smith, Guillot, Bradford, Lee, Miranti, Garvey (6). He’d have the following votes that he usually doesn’t control (but who would be happy to go along with this): Hill, Beebe (2). That would leave Boffy, who we know is too vested in CCSS to change her vote; Roemer, who doesn’t really owe the guv anything; and Orange-Jones, who will follow the TFA party line and stick with CCSS.

    So, why doesn’t he make this easier and get rid of White and install a BESE pres. who will work with him? Seems like he’s taking a huge risk with the perception that he can’t control his own people – that can’t be an image he wants/needs out there.

    1. Correct. I think that is in the works or he made a catastrophic blunder. Ithink he was gettinh his ducks in a row. Sun Tzu: Victorious warriors win first and then go to war…defeated warriors go to war and then seek to win. Jindal started this war. He will look awfully foolish and pathetic if he can’t pull off a win here and his conservative base will never forgive him for a loss. They are already highly suspicious if him and his motives. A loss here would make him a laughing stock to both right and left.

  2. I don’t know, y’all. If the Governor were really serious about committing the resources of his office to pulling Louisiana out of PARCC and Common Core, I think he would have made an actual effort at supporting the anti-CC bills in the legislature this past session. Instead, he simply put in a red card and didn’t have his folks speak against it. He didn’t seem to want to actually jump into the pool until after three other states and done so.

    Hate to be cynical, but I think this is his “clever” way to try to have his cake and eat it, too. Don’t make any actual effort. Put up the illusion of effort. Have red meat to throw to the folks in Iowa, New Hampshire, and wherever else, and he will be long gone, one way or the other, before any of this stuff is worked out.

    If I read the story right in the Advocate, they are trying to claim that the testing contract was not appropriately handled as far as being bid out. For any of you with experience in state government, do you think there is any way to get the thing out for RFP, bid on, reviewed, and implemented in time for the 14-15 school year? I think Bobby just wants more sound bites for Fox News.

    Hope I’m wrong.

    1. You might be right, but I think I am. He didn’t want to risk another showdown with legislature he might not win like flat tax debacle. That was an unstable situatuon to weigh in on. This allows him to ride in on a white horse and save the day with little risk.

      1. OK, and that’s an interesting perspective. I still have a hard time imagining that he would actually be persistent enough to make sure that it doesn’t happen. Again, I would be happy to be wrong about it.

  3. Spot-on, CrawDaddy! Beautiful piece both in content (YiPPee!) and style (hey, you’re a pretty decent writer, ya know!).
    Agree with you. Jindal felt this one. Finding himself after the corruption of that first Obama rebuttal?
    Thanks for the piece … Maybe now we can have some peace … On this one, at least!

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