I was given the opportunity to interview Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) after he spoke to the Republican Party of Iowa State Convention (whose delegates passed an anti-Common Core plank) on Saturday.
Jindal last week vetoed a bill that he noted opponents said would enshrine Louisiana’s participation in Common Core and PARCC. The bill just added another year to a delay of rules approved by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved in 2012 regarding the implementation of the Common Core.
Jindal who touted his education reforms in Louisiana during his remarks has recently come out in opposition to the Common Core State Standards. After affirming that he is in favor of high standards he said, “What I am against and what troubles me about Common Core and the reason I not only want to get Louisiana out of Common Core, but out of PARCC, out of the whole thing… We don’t need a federal takeover of education. The reality is that the federal government never really had, and shouldn’t have, that role in education.”
“In Louisiana we have no state approval of curriculum, we have no state approval of textbooks, as I said to the convention, I believe in trusting parents. I want the dollars to follow the child. I want parents to decide what is the best learning environment for their student, their child. Maybe it is a parochial school, maybe it is a Christian school, maybe it is a traditional public school, a charter school, online program, maybe it is a homeschool. We don’t need a one-size fits all approach, every child learns differently. My concern with Common Core is that not only is it a federal intrusion but you know for certain that once the federal government sets the standards then the curricula, the textbooks, everything is to be shaped around that,” Jindal added.
Jindal said that he’s also nervous about a federal involvement in education based upon his recent experience with Attorney General Eric Holder suing Louisiana in order to stop their scholarship program. “We have seen the overreach of the federal government. We have seen this federal government get involved. At the end of the day it really comes down to trusting parents, trusting locals, we don’t need the federal government making this decision,” Jindal told Caffeinated Thoughts.
He reasserted that as Governor he believes he has the authority and power to get Louisiana out of Common Core, and that he was going to use his power to do that. He also rejected the U.S. Department of Education’s threat of federal money and ESEA waivers as a paper tiger. He said they put up false constructs. He noted they insinuate that if you are not for Common Core, you are against rigor and quality standards, which he said is not the case.
Caffeinated Thoughts asked his opinion of the standards outside of their federal involvement, for instance its ability to help prepare students for STEM fields. “I would invite any parent that has questions about Common Core, ask you kids to bring home their math. Ask them to bring home their Common Core math homework and help them do just a couple of sheets. Look my kids are in elementary school… pick a grade level, work through this math. Forget the theory, forget the philosophy, forget the debate just work through these math sheets and then let’s talk about is this really the best way to teach our kids. I think this is inevitable when you have a one-size fits all approach,” Jindal answered. “I have nothing against a local school that decides on their own they want to do this curriculum that is fine by me. I’m not saying they can’t do it. What I am saying is choice and competition is the way we grow our economy. What is ironic to me is that we believe in choice and competition in almost every aspect of our lives. If the government were to come to us tomorrow and say we can only buy one kind of jeans we would rebel against that.”
He said that for some reason the left is ok with choice except in the arenas of healthcare and education. They don’t think that citizens know best. “This is a symptom of a much bigger problem,” Jindal said.
You can watch his remarks on Common Core here starting at the 1:30 mark and going to about 10:15.