Governor Bobby Jindal is in a fight over Common Core that may end up in court with the man he appointed to lead Louisiana’s education system, after superintendent John White announced that he plans to defy Jindal’s attempt to pull the state out of the Common Core standards.
“We won’t let the federal government take over Louisiana’s education standards,” Jindal said Wednesday. ”We’re very alarmed about choice and local control over curriculum being taken away from parents and educators. Common Core has not been fully implemented yet in Louisiana, and we need to start the process over. It was rushed in the beginning and done without public input.”
To that end, he ordered the state Department of Education not to purchase the Common Core tests under development by a consortium of states known as the Partnership of Assessments for College and Career Readiness, a group that is developing the assessments with federal funding.
“Now that we understand the federal overreach involved, we need to slow down and make the right decision,” Jindal said. A potential 2016 presidential candidate, the governor wants the state legislature to shore up his order by repealing Common Core. His decision comes as Republican primary activists around the country, most recently in Oklahoma, have mobilized conservative voters against the standards.
John White doesn’t plan to comply. “State and federal law have long required that Louisiana measure literacy and math performance through standards and annual tests,” White said in his prepared response to the order. “By using test forms and questions that make results comparable among states, we are following the Legislature’s mandate that we not only measure but also compete.”
Jindal used a requirement that contracts be purchased through a competitive process as the legal basis for his order, but White has a plan for getting around Jindal’s order. “He said he could do that without issuing a new contract to buy the consortium’s test. Instead, the state could buy the questions through its existing test vendor, which was chosen through competitive bid,” according to The Times-Picayune. “If Louisiana isn’t pursuing a new testing contract, then the governor may not insist that multiple vendors be considered and White may proceed with using the consortium’s test as planned.”
The Times-Picayune notes that White expects the matter to go to court. “He and state school board president Chas Roemer have said they don’t think the governor has the authority to unilaterally scrap Common Core in Louisiana without their consent,” the paper relates.