"Trying to separate himself from his arch-rival, Gov. Bobby Jindal, it seems that U.S. Sen. David Vitter is having trouble remembering exactly where he stands on important issues, such as Common Core.
On Friday, Vitter endorsed the Common Core educational standards that Jindal once supported, but is now vigorously working to repeal.
“I strongly support the Common Core standards,” Vitter said in an interview with C-SPAN. Vitter went even further, taking a partisan swipe at Jindal: “I support the strong standards Louisiana now has in place and think Governor Jindal’s attempt to start from scratch right before the new school year is very disruptive,” he said.
All the Louisiana press dutifully reported Vitter’s statement, but somehow missed that just a few months ago, Vitter sent out a fundraising appeal in which he declared his opposition to Common Core."
Here is the pertinent language in a "coming out" letter he circulated months ago--when Vitter wrote to politicos while asking for campaign contributions--announcing, in effect, that he was finished praying about the decision and is now ready to announce his candidacy for Louisiana Governor. (See Bob Mann blog for the entire letter)
But, wait. Didn't Vitter address Common Core when he stood in front of the Baton Rouge Press Club in early June?
He said he supports "the strong standards Common Core represents" but he stopped short of saying he supports what has become a controversial plan for raising K-12 standards. He added "I don't think Common Core standards mandate a federal curriculum." ...
This is how the Times Picayune described Vitter's June 16 Press Club comments on the issue:
Vitter is more open to keeping the Common Core academic standards in Louisiana primary and secondary schools than Jindal. But like the governor, he is skeptical of whether the state should be using a Common Core test known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, next year.
Common Core lays out what students are supposed to learn each year in mathematics and English. Louisiana and most other states adopted the standards a few years ago, but a few states are backing off amid a recent conservative backlash.
Vitter said he had "more homework" to do on the issue of Common Core before he makes a final decision on the educational benchmarks. But he doesn't believe the standards alone constitute a federal curriculum as some conservative critics have alleged.
"I am in favor of the strong standards that Common Core represents," said Vitter.
Jindal wants the state out of Common Core. He is trying to shelve tests planned for the upcoming school year and earlier this year compared the education overhaul to centralized planning in Russia.
But Vitter, who in June declined to spell out his views on the academic goals, endorsed them so strongly on Friday that even Common Core backers were surprised. “As governor I would take an aggressive, hands-on approach, get curriculum and implementation right,” according to the senator’s statement.
“I’d ensure the state and locals maintain complete control over curriculum, lesson plans and reading lists and make good decisions on those,” Vitter said. “And I’d demand effective planning and preparation with parents, school boards and teachers.”
So, what's David Vitter's take today on Common Core? Does he strongly support the "strong standards" of Common Core--which he now says he does? Does he still believe that the Common Core standards don't "mandate a federal curriculum"?
Or, is it President Obama's "heavy-handed education policies like Common Core", that Vitter opposes, and from which Vitter will protect us all.
Who knows! It's time for some homework.