Jindal does turnaround on standards

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s endorsement of a bill to scrap Common Core and let state lawmakers have the final say on education standards came on the same day that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released a video that included a pro-Common Core quote from Jindal.

His endorsement comes at 3:10 in the video.

Shannon Bates, a spokeswoman for Jindal, said Thursday that the statement cited was old, and chamber officials did not contact the Governor’s Office.

Jindal’s office registered support Wednesday for a proposal, House Bill 381, that would set up a commission to draft new academic goals and then submit them to the Legislature.

The governor also signaled his backing for a second measure, House Bill 558, that would ban the state from using the national test to measure what students know about the new standards in reading, writing and math.

Aides to the governor did not testify, and both bills failed on votes of 7-12 after nine hours of testimony and debate.

T he final tally marked a major turning point for a governor with national ambitions on an issue that has sparked controversy nationwide for months.

Support for Common Core by key Jindal allies, and his push for a major public school overhaul in 2012, re-enforced the view that a governor who wants to be known as an education reformer backed the standards.

Arguments over Common Core ratcheted up in Louisiana on Aug. 2 when Jindal said he would oppose any bid by federal officials to impose a public school curriculum on local schools, one of the key arguments used by opponents.

Three days later, the governor avoided any endorsement of Common Core.

Jindal’s position on the issue remained fuzzy for months.

Meanwhile, the governor’s hand-picked state superintendent of education, John White, has long been the state’s top proponent for Common Core.

The Jindal-friendly state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, which hired White, reaffirmed its support for the standards in January, four years after another BESE board did so in 2010.

The governor issued a statement last month that said he would not support a “one size fits all” test to quiz students on the standards.

Some viewed that as possible support for HB558, the abolish-the-test proposal by state Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie.

The Governor’s Office did just that.

It also backed the more sweeping bill by state Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, to set up a commission to craft new, Louisiana-centric standards.