Jindal's Leadership on Common Core Provides Another Great Example for Scott & Further Isolates Bush

June, 2014

Following Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and South Carolina Governor Nikki Hayley, Louisiana's Republican Governor Bobby Jindal provides another great example of leadership on the Common Core issue.  On June 18th, he signed executive orders withdrawing his state from the Common Core standards and the PARCC testing consortium and ordering the development of new standards, a competitive bidding process for new tests that do not involve consrotia, as the PARCC test process was considered to be in violation of Louisiana law, and an audit of the testing contracts.  [The press release, the letter to PARCC and two executive orders are available on the governor's website.]

There are some, including activists from Louisiana, that question whether this is serious or just another political "lipstick on a pig" stunt as has been done in Florida and Indiana. In addition, state Superintendent John White and the Louisiana Department of Education issued a press release stating that Jindal does not have the legal authority to do what he did and that they will proceed with implementing Common Core and PARCC in the 2014-2015 school year.

However, Mercedes Schneider offers excellent analysis as to why the Jindal orders seem to be sincere, substantive and legal:

  • According to the Louisiana Constitution, "the Governor may issue an executive order which suspends any rule or regulation adopted by a state department, agency, board or commission within thirty days of adoption." (Article IV, Section 5 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, as amended, and La. R.S. 49:970. Emphasis added).  The June 18th Order BJ 2014 6 then legally nullifies the adoption of PARCC as the Louisiana assessment by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) that occurred on May 20th.
  • John White testified to the Louisiana legislature in April that there is no contract to purchase the PARCC test, only to participate in development, and "White has produced no contract for Louisiana to purchase PARCC which means that the BESE decision to adopt PARCC on May 20, 2014, is the only formal action taken to tie Louisiana to using PARCC." (Schneider)
  • "The second executive order above poses two issues for White: First, he must produce that PARCC MOU for PARCC purchase that he told the House Appropriations Committee doesn't exist. (Either he secretly signed an agreement that he is not willing to publicize which was the case with inBloom or he has no contract to tie Louisiana to purchasing PARCC." (Schneider)
  • "Another issue is that White's PARCC spending will be audited. On April 8, 2014, White told the House Appropriations Committee that the state education budget was $55 million short. It is time for White to produce a detailed accounting of his LDOE spending. Starting with PARCC is just fine." (Schneider)
  • Jindal states in his letter to PARCC, "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." (Emphasis added.) The letter to CCSSO and NGA is not available for review.
  • Finally, Schneider notes, "... Jindal has stated that he removed Louisiana from CCSS, and PARCC is tied to CCSS. Also, Jindal notes that in the competitive bidding process for assessments' he is restricting the search to assessment companies not associated with consortia." This is evidence that he is not just picking another testing firm tied to Common Core as Florida has done with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), which is tied to SBAC, and that he seems serious about ending both Common Core, PARCC, and federally funded and supervised testing consortia in Louisiana.
Jindal's innovative and courageous efforts show another way that Florida Governor Rick Scott could proceed on Common Core without deceiving the people and without the legislature, who completely failed to deal with the Common Core issue in a meaningful way during the 2014 session. Scott is paying for this politically as he continues to lag behind Charlie Crist in the Real Clear Politics average.  This is most likely due in significant part to voter anger at the deceptive handling of this issue and for choosing such a terrible testing firm as AIR.

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog noted the stark contrast between Jindal and Jeb Bush on Common Core after Louisiana's announcement.  This is in keeping with our report on Bush's growing isolation as a result of his stubborn support of these inferior, invasive, and expensive standards, tests, and data collection systems.

The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition urges Governor Scott to follow the lead of Governor Jindal and exercise his constitutional authority to get rid of the Common Core and investigate these complicated and potentially corrupt testing contracts.  As former Governor Bush is becoming more isolated in his support for Common Core, so is current Governor Scott for perpetrating such misleading rebranding efforts of Common Core and choosing AIR with such pronounced  social engineering tendencies.

Please contact Governor Scott and respectfully, but firmly ask that he stop with the deception, withdraw from the Common Core standards initiative via executive order, and cancel the contract with AIR:

(850) 717-9337
Email Governor Scott

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