Louisiana governor tries to block Common Core education standards

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 6, 2014. AP

BATON ROUGE, La. - Gov. Bobby Jindal sought Wednesday to derail Louisiana's use of standardized tests tied to the Common Core education standards, but state education leaders say the governor's executive order is meaningless.

The Republican governor opposes the English and math standards adopted by most states as an attempted federal takeover of education, and he said he's committed to stopping Louisiana's participation in the Common Core.

"Common Core's become a one-size-fits-all model that simply doesn't make sense for our state," Jindal said at a news conference.

Both state lawmakers and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education have voted in support of the standards. Jindal's executive authority is limited, so he sought to strike at testing from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career that is linked to the standards as a backdoor way to get Louisiana out of Common Core. He also says he'll ask lawmakers next year to revisit the standards.

Among a series of anti-Common Core actions announced Wednesday, the governor put out an executive order requiring a competitive bid process for public school standardized tests.

The Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education planned to use Common Core-related testing for students in third- through eighth-grades, but the tests haven't yet been purchased for the upcoming school year. Jindal said the tests in question appear to be most expensive available, so he's confident they couldn't be chosen in competitive bidding for standardized tests.

But Superintendent of Education John White and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Chairman Chas Roemer say the governor's executive order won't change the roll-out of Common Core in classrooms or the use of the PARCC test.

White said his department can buy test questions under an existing contract with an outside vendor. The Jindal administration disagrees.

"We're planning on going ahead and implementing the plan that's in accordance with state law and with what we've been doing for four years," White said.

Where the dispute heads next is unclear.

Jindal's office didn't immediately say whether the governor would consider taking state educations officials to court over the testing, to try to stop the use of PARCC.

Superintendent of Education John White and state education board chairman Chas Roemer disagree, saying they intend to continue the roll-out of Common Core and plan to use the PARCC test under their existing authority.

Where the dispute heads next is unclear.

Common Core standards are English and math benchmarks adopted by most states. Jindal says the standards amount to a federal education takeover.

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