By Robert Mann
If there was ever a politically motivated, frivolous lawsuit, it would be the thinly veiled campaign document that Gov. Bobby Jindal filed in federal court on Wednesday, alleging that the federal government coerced states like Louisiana to participate in Common Core.
In his suit, Jindal seems to say that he and other governors were forced by President Obama to apply for federal funds and join a national consortium, all of which supported the implementation of the Common Core standards in their states.
“In short, through regulatory and rule making authority, Defendants [the federal government] have constructed a scheme that effectively forces States down a path toward a national curriculum by requiring, as a condition of funding under the President’s Race to the Top programs, that States join ‘consortia of states’ and agree to adopt a common set of content standards and to implement the assessment protocols and policies created by that consortium, all under the direction of the United States Department of Education,” Jindal says in his suit. “It is impossible to square the executive actions at issue with settled Congressional authority or the Tenth Amendment.”
Funny, but that’s not what Jindal said in 2009, when he eagerly applied for the “Race to the Top” money. If he was being coerced into applying, he had an odd way of showing his displeasure.
“We are excited about the opportunity for our schools to ‘Race to the Top’ and attract more funding to help students succeed,” Jindal said in a press release on Nov. 5, 2009. “The strategies promoted in this competitive grant program are a step in the right direction and will provide the resources needed to support a sustainable model of growth.
“While participation in this new initiative is voluntary, the Department of Education is encouraging local school boards and superintendents across the state to strongly consider this opportunity to provide flexible funds to our schools. [Emphasis added] Our children only have one chance to grow up and get the skills they need to succeed. We must take advantage of every opportunity we have to strengthen our education system and provide more opportunities for Louisiana children.”
Jindal also proudly put his signature on the documents which formalized Louisiana’s participation in the consortia that drew up the Common Core standards. He now claims he was coerced. If so, he must have been bound and gagged afterwards, because he never registered a complaint at the time.
From the day he decided to throw Louisiana’s educational system into chaos in order to build a national following over his newfound opposition to Common Core, Jindal has struggled to square his cheerleading for Common Core with his current hostility.
His federal lawsuit, however, strains credulity. To suggest he was coerced into participation means he was a fool in 2009 or he was misleading Louisiana voters.
He was a dupe or liar. Either way, it’s difficult to see how this helps Jindal construct an image as a decisive, well-informed leader.
The next question, of course, for Jindal is who is paying for this lawsuit, because it’s not a legitimate lawsuit. It’s a blatant campaign statement, designed for a presidential campaign and disguised as a legal document.
Like Common Core, Jindal has now apparently changed his position on frivolous lawsuits.