Jindal to Dump PARCC?
An April 14, 2014, nola.com article has Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal publicly saying he is “willing” to leave the Partnership for Assessment of College and Careers (PARCC)– and even the Common Core State Standards (CCSS):
Gov. Bobby Jindal has said he is willing to withdraw Louisiana from a consortium of states developing the assessment associated with the Common Core academic standards if the Louisiana Legislature doesn’t choose to do so on its own.
Eight legislators sent a letter to Jindal Monday afternoon asking him to nix a years-old agreement that has Louisiana residents and policy makers helping craft the Partnership of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test. The governor, who once supported PARCC, said he was in favor of the state’s withdrawal from the assessment group and indicated that he hopes the anti-Common Core efforts currently brewing in some corners of the Legislature succeed.
“We share the concerns of these [anti-Common Core] legislators and also of parents across Louisiana. We’re hopeful that legislation will move through the process this session that will address the concerns of parents or delay implementation until these concerns can be addressed. We think this course of action outlined in the legislators’ letter remains a very viable option if the Legislature does not act,” said Jindal in a statement. [Emphasis added.]
Anyone familiar with Jindal should know that any decision to move against PARCC or CCSS is prompted by Jindal’s own political ambitions.
It is highly likely that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will vie for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, and Bush is over-the-top CCSS.
Jindal appears to be positioning himself as the “anti-CCSS Republican 2016 presidential contender.”
If Jindal is serious about dumping CCSS (and by extension, the CCSS appendage, PARCC), he is able to act alone. Only two signatures signed Louisiana onto CCSS: that of Jindal and former State Education Superintendent Paul Pastorek.
Pastorek is gone. Only Jindal remains. He need only send formal word to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Louisiana could be rid of both CCSS and PARCC.
As the nola.com article notes, this is “a developing story.”
We’ll see what Jindal does. He might be hoping to unload responsibility for PARCC (and perhaps CCSS) onto the legislature. That way, he can take credit when it serves his purposes and distance himself from the decision when it serves his purposes.
On April 2, 2014, a bill to delay and investigate CCSS in Louisiana was voted down in the House Education Committee. The vote was 12 to 7, with the Black Caucus levying the final blow. However, I learned today that the chair of the Black Caucus, Rep. Katrina Jackson, is seeking input regarding CCSS.
Individuals in Rep. Jackson’s district should contact her and let her know her constituency’s thoughts on CCSS.
And then there is the question of State Education Superintendent John White’s future.
Bobby Jindal appears to be purposely (and publicly) distancing himself from both White and Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) President Chas Roemer. As nola.com notes:
Jindal’s willingness to scratch PARCC is another blow for those who have championed Common Core, including Department of Education Superintendent John White, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education president Chas Roemer and several state lawmakers. [Emphasis added.]
On April 8, 2014, White told the House Appropriations Committee (comprised of some of the same individuals who want to delay/end CCSS, including Pope and Schroder) that the education budget was short $55 million, with $20 million involved in a “cash flow issue.”
A colleague who attended the House Appropriations meeting with White in the hot seat, Lee Barrios, said that when asked about the cost of PARCC, White provided told the committee that the cost of PARCC would carry “a net cost of zero” compared to the cost of the Louisiana Education Assessment Program (LEAP) test.
From Barrios’ partial transcript of White’s House Appropriations meeting:
[Rep.] Geymann asked why there was no fiscal note associated with PARCC.
White:”I would assume because there will be savings associated with PARCC. ”
I estimated that one year of PARCC for only half of Louisiana’s students would cost $10.7 million.
And White has gone over 2014 budget $55 million without having the added expense of a standardized test to be annually administered to all grades K-12.
Of course, the fine irony here is that White just told the House Appropriations Committee that the Louisiana Department of Education is over its annual budget by $55 million at the same time that he is trying to peddle the multi-million-dollar PARCC as having “savings associated” with it.
Geymann closed the meeting with a request for a legal statement as to whether Jindal would be able to remove Louisiana from the PARCC contract.
Uh, oh, Johnny. You’re embarrassing Jindal, who is already shaking off his shoes from playing in your CCSS/PARCC sandbox.
The question is what will Jindal dump first– PARCC– CCSS– or John White?