Make no mistake. Bobby Jindal never met a piece of school choice legislation he didn’t like. And he is no friend of his state’s teachers union. But it is his position against Common Core Standards which separates him from Republican governors like Rick Scott and political opportunists like Charlie Crist. Jindal’s rhetoric against Common Core is becoming more forceful and persuasive. Consider his recent opinion piece in the Shreveport Times:
….when parents and teachers began to speak up in opposition to the one-size-fits-all nature of the Common Core standards and the tests that came with it, we listened. Much of the education community is increasingly concerned that the Common Core mandates will mean local school districts have less control over curriculum. Many have described a rushed process where the education bureaucrats and the folks in Washington, D.C., did an end run around parents and educators to implement these standards without proper input.
Rick Scott’s response to parental opposition was to establish a bogus social media operation to catalog concerns. An equally bogus “tweak” and relabeling as “Florida Standards” resulted, fooled no one, but protected Scott in n election year from the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the ire of former governor Jeb Bush. As for Crist, he can never be opposed to Common Core. He brought it here when he signed onto the Obama-Duncan Race to the Top bribe. The $300 million that remains of the grant cynically keeps politicians of both parties in line.
It is Jindal’s inclusion of “teachers” and “tests” which separates him from Scott. Jindal clearly appreciates both the role teachers play, but also their expertise. Scott has never demonstrated any such opinions instead letting Michelle Rhee’s propaganda film Waiting for Superman serve as his education philosophy anchor . Scott told Florida teachers in a 2011 meeting that the “perception” of public schools “is that it is not an accountable system.”
Crist, though politically trapped by his acceptance of Common Core with his RttT grant, has credibility with teachers and on testing. His veto of SB 6 solidified his position on test-dominated accountability systems and he remains quite vocal in his opposition to high-stakes testing. Though easily labeled a flip-flopper and subjected to negative ads funded by Scott’s war chest, Crist still leads Scott in a Real Clear Politics average by +3.6.
How come? And with a Democrat president so unpopular.
Does Jindal’s conclusion provide some insight into why Scott reelection campaign hasn’t taken off?
The simple fact is that proponents of Common Core weren’t upfront about the level of federal government control involved once states accepted the one-size-fits all standards. We shouldn’t let a national consortium of federal bureaucrats dictate how Louisiana educates its children. We have fought too hard to sit idly by and allow educational choice and local control of curriculum to be taken away from parents and educators. Our children’s future is too important to get this wrong.
Again, emphasis mine. Scott and his republican legislative enablers continue to be seen as to not be “upfront” on Common Core – by many republican voters. To be sure, Jindal’s position appeals to his political base, but it is one that is growing. With grassroots opposition to Common Core emerging which focuses on pedagogical and developmental flaws, it’s only a matter of time before the standards collapse entirely. Scott and Florida republican legislators will find themselves on the wrong side of history and education policy.