When I listen to Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. David Vitter fight over Louisiana’s participation in Common Core, it sounds like the dispute of a dysfunctional family, in which the parents are oblivious to how their brawl hurts the children.
Plates sail, curses fly and the terrified kids huddle behind the sofa, praying they won’t be hit in the crossfire.
Like too many domestic disputes, our leaders’ battle over Common Core pays no mind to what’s best for the kids. Instead, the players seem concerned only with their political futures. They posture and switch positions with ease, pandering to whichever audience is more likely to help them capture higher office.
Chief among those ignoring the children is Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Once, Jindal helped lead the national effort to write and adopt the Common Core academic standards. His bold signature is upon a document, the Common Core Standards Memorandum of Agreement, which states, “The time is right for a state-led, nation-wide effort to establish a common core of standards that raises the bar for all students.” Jindal also signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2010, declaring Louisiana’s intent to compete for federal funds to implement the Common Core standards.
In January 2012, he told the Legislature, “Adopting the Common Core State Standards . . . will raise expectations for every child.”
As soon as he started getting pushback from the tea party types, however, Jindal dropped those standards like a steaming crawfish. “The feds are taking over and rushing this,” Jindal now says. “Let’s face it: centralized planning didn’t work in Russia, it’s not working with our health care system and it won’t work in education.” Jindal is now in a pitched battle with state Education Department officials over Common Core.
Sorry, kids, I know the nice governor once vowed hopeless devotion to those education standards, but, for goodness sake, he has a presidential election to win. Seriously, young man, could you live with the fact that your selfish desire to read and write might prevent someone with Jindal’s colossal talents from reaching the White House? I thought not.
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