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Friday, 12 September 2014 18:05

Father Jindal knows best about Common Core, Louisiana Education

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jindal-knows-bestGovernor Bobby Jindal just might want to flip-flop once again regarding his Common Core position.

We all know how the presidential-hopeful, Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal has sued his own Department of Education and then after failing, sued the Obama administration over the implementation of Common Core.   We recall when he was one of the most strident advocates of the program, before his “awakening” or perhaps, his drinking too much “made-for-the-presidential-campaign-tea”.


We have heard and read his rationale:

The Obama administration “hijacked and destroyed the Common Core initiative” and is conspiring to federalize education

“These are big government elitists that believe they know better than parents and local school boards”

In his lawsuit, instead of presenting evidence to support his case, he spent state money assuring that he would not be forced to testify to support his conspiracy theory.  As a result, the court noted that he produced no evidence in support of his claim.

His anti-common core rhetoric has been “Jindal knows  best” artfully couched in a Louisiana parents versus the federal government mantra or “Louisiana parents know best”.

Those favoring Common Core believe that students, schools and states should be measured based upon national testing standards.  Further, these standards would help determine whether the students, teachers, parents, schools, legislators and all involved are doing their jobs in a national, if not international marketplace.

Jindal’s position has been that Louisiana schools can maintain its own standards and doesn’t need one that is “top down” and “one fits all” approach.

However, a recent report card from the US Chamber of Commerce released Thursday conducted, by the conservative American Enterprise Institute, reveals that Louisiana, in a critical area so important to our kids’ future, can once again be thankful for the relative poor performance from our friends in the neighboring State of Mississippi.

In short, Louisiana is second to last.

Without formally stating so,  the findings from the report card actually raises serious questions as to Jindal’s core arguments against Common Core: 

But, first, the TP article:

A newU.S. Chamber of Commerce report gives Louisiana's public education system very low marks on academic achievement, international competitiveness, workforce preparation and bang for the buck. It flunked Louisiana in five of 11 categories, with a D+ in the sixth.

The state's low academic standing has been widely documented. However, the chamber says its report has a particular focus on the 21stcentury workforce.

Louisiana did see some gains. Scores went up on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2013, especially for low-income and minority students. But compared to other states, Louisiana was still at the bottom. The state's2013 Advanced Placement pass ratewas worse than any state except Mississippi.

Pass rates were even lower in subjects that the chamber considers important for the 21stcentury economy: only 30 in 10,000 students passed a foreign language AP test, and 4 in 10,000 passed the AP computer science test.

When measured against an international exam, the Programme for International Student Assessment, fewer than 20 percent of Louisiana students met the global standard in reading and mathematics.

The chamber gave Louisiana a failing grade on "return on investment." After controlling for the cost of living, the chamber's report says, "student achievement in Louisiana is very low relative to state spending," which is about at the national median.

The chamber released thereport card Thursday. The research was conducted by the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Given Louisiana's poor national and international standing, the chamber found the state's internal testing results dubious and lacking in credibility. In 2011, pass rates for Louisiana's LEAP and iLEAP tests were much higher than the national rates. That gave an inaccurately rosy picture of student performance, said the chamber, which awarded a D-plus for "truth in advertising."

So, unless Jindal wants to argue that the largest and most important business organization in the nation, the conservative Chamber of Commerce and the American Enterprise Institute are conspiring with the Obama administration to hurt Louisiana kids, as a result of this study, perhaps it is time to ask “who really knows best”.

Does Governor Jindal know better than the very professionals he hand-picked to manage the Louisiana education system and the Republican legislature majority who agree with those professionals, in support of Common Core?

Does he know better than the publically-elected educational professionals and the parents-elected legislature, both who represent the very parents and kids, he claims to represent?

While nobody wants a “one-size-fits-all approach” (more Jindalese to describe Common Core), what “size” does he favor,  since so far,  the sizes maintained under his tailor-ship are  not fitting, but are inaccurately-portrayed?

Right now, despite seven years of his administration, our students are ill-equipped to compete with others nationally and internationally—second to last, in a country--which is quickly free-falling in competitive ranking space--by the hour.

Worse, if not Common Core, will those standards used by Louisiana in the past, or those selected by his administration change the deception and “false advertising” perpetrated upon our parents and our students--as they prepare for the jobs of the future?

If anything, what the conservative Chamber of Commerce and the American Enterprise Institute report card is telling Louisiana parents and students is this—continue living below the US and international standards if you want and continue being sold snake oil if it makes you feel better.

Meanwhile, your governor can pretend “he knows best” since this makes great campaign rhetoric as he tries to carve a niche for himself   among the already competitive Republican presidential hopefuls.

However, your elected and Jindal-appointed educational professionals (and your elected state representatives) who will be answering to you once he leaves office, know that you  know, that Dick and Jane will be the losers as they fail to compete for the jobs of the future, despite our state created standards and tests that deceive us into thinking that they can. 

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Stephen Sabludowsky | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.