Archives for category: Jindal, Bobby

Crazy Crawfish (aka Jason France, who was a data analyst at the Louisiana Department of Education) offers a fascinating insight into the political machinations behind Governor Bobby Jindal’s effort to ditch the Common Core.

Jindal was an enthusiastic supporter of CC until last June, when he suddenly became an opponent. The state commissioner of education, John White, a steadfast ally of Jindal, announced that he would fight the governor. The state board of education joined White, including two of Jindal’s appointees.

In Louisiana, Jindal is known as a governor who does not tolerate disloyalty. He swiftly punishes dissidents in his ranks. Yet no one of Jindal’s former allies faced retribution for opposing him. Something smelled fishy.

Then came the trial of Jindal vs. White on the Common Core, and Jindal’s lawyer didn’t call any witnesses. Jason France thinks he threw the fight. He thinks the fix is in. Jindal doesn’t want to get rid of the Common Core, he wants to appear to be trying because Common Core is a liability among the conservative voters that Jindal needs for his presidential aspirations.

France concludes:

“The chaos we are experiencing was intentionally fomented by John White, Chas Roemer and Bobby Jindal to distract people and wear them out. This betrayal was planned.

“Sadly, this is just another ruse perpetrated by those in power to avoid listening to parents’ real problems, and another reason parents are right to fear and fight Common Core. I expect this distraction to last until Jindal leaves office. John White and Chas Roemer were correct when they stated Jindal’s opposition to Common Core was politically motivated. The irony is that they were quite likely complicit in the deception from the get-go; to increase all of their profiles. That ploy has worked. Now we get to decide if their profiles are ultimately positively or negatively impacted by this fiasco.”

A Louisiana judge ruled against Governor Jindal in his efforts to dump Common Core and PARCC.

Mercedes Schneider read the court decision and concludes that Jindal lost in court against proponents of Common Core because his lawyer didn’t make a good case. She says he better get a better legal team or be prepared to lose again.

Well, I gave you an update on the latest episode in the Louisiana battle over Common Core. But of course I don’t know as much as Mercedes Schneider, who teaches in the state and stays abreast of the latest news and gossip.

So here is the scoop, from the inside.

Who will sue whom?

What tests will be used?

Will the governor beat the superintendent that he once loved and the board he appointed?

On June 18, Governor Jindal announced that Louisiana was pulling out of Common Core and dropping PARCC testing. State commissioner of education John White disagreed. The state board of education supports White.

Wow! The Governor versus the state commissioner!

Mercedes Schneider brings us up to date on this epic struggle between the governor and the state commissioner he once strongly supported.

The state board of education and White wants to sue Jindal, but apparently they need Jindal’s approval to sue him. Do you think they will get it?

Jindal has put a lid on the Department of Education’s spending. Can they afford to make a new testing contract?

The deadline to sign a contract for PARCC testing is July 30, with a down payment of 15%. Hmm. That could be a problem for Commissioner White and the state board since Jindal holds the purse strings.

Poker, anyone? Chess?

While Governor Bobby Jindal and State Superintendent John White continue to slug it out over Common Core and PARCC testing, a new wrinkle has been added.

Blogger Louisiana Voice reports that John White’s office is being investigated for payroll fraud:

“LouisianaVoice has learned the Legislative Auditor’s office is conducting an investigation of DOE that could involve payroll fraud, according to sources inside the department.

“White, as we have reported several times in the past, has loaded up the department with unclassified appointments at bloated six-figure salaries.

“There are apparently three major problems with that:

“Many of these appointees seldom, if ever, show up for work and apparently are required to perform few, if any, duties to earn their keep;

“The department did not have enough money in its budget to pay their salaries so they are reportedly being paid from federal funds earmarked for specific purposes;

“The appointees are not assigned to areas for which the federal funds are allocated.

“If true, these are serious allegations and even more serious violations that could prompt a federal probe in addition to the investigation already underway by the Legislative Auditor.”

Stephanie Simon reports at politico.com that Governor Bobby Jindal’s lawyer advised him he has the right to withdraw Louisiana from the Common Core and the federally-funded PARCC tests.

State Superintendent John White said in an interview that Jindal was wrong. He went even further and accused the governor of breaking the law: “State Superintendent John White has accused the governor of breaking the law, trampling the state constitution and crushing the dreams of low-income minority students by rejecting the Common Core and scrapping plans to give students new exams aligned to the standards.”

“White said his attorneys are reviewing the legal memo. His team is also working to compile reams of documentation about the state’s contacts with PARCC and its plans to administer the PARCC test — including invoices, contracts, meeting minutes, calendar entries, memos and emails.”

Jindal can’t fire White. White works for the state board of education. This is one of the most startling developments in the saga of the Common Core: a governor who signed the memorandum to adopt the Common Core and now wants out vs. the state superintendent, who is fighting to keep the Common Core and tests.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/jindal-ally-blasts-common-core-illegal-108321.html#ixzz35mTvI6H1

Stephanie Simon interviewed State Superintendent John White, who blasted Governor Bobby Jindal for dropping Common Core and PARCC testing. White said that Jindal was denying children their “civil rights.” Isn’t it weird how these privatizers like to use “civil rights” as a rhetorical weapon without any meaning? It used to refer to the right to attend a desegregated school, the right to vote, the right to be equal before the law, now it is allegedly means the right to take the same standardized test? Since it is a well-demonstrated fact that standardized tests favor those whose family income and family education are high, one could easily argue that a concern for civil rights requires an education in which standardized tests are minimized or completely absent.

Here is the summary of the Simon interview. It links to politico.pro, a website with a big paywall. I inquired about subscribing and was told it costs $3,400. [Breaking: Stephanie Simon informed that the story about the interview is now available free, not behind a paywall. It is here.]

“JINDAL TAKING FIRE: Louisiana State Superintendent John White told POLITICO in an interview that Gov. Bobby Jindal is breaking the law, trampling the state constitution and crushing the dreams of low-income and minority students by trying to scrap the Common Core and PARCC exams. The two state leaders previously worked hand-in-hand on far-reaching education reforms, expanding the state’s school voucher program and standing together during a federal investigation into the program. Jindal and White lambasted the Obama administration for investigating the voucher program, saying the federal government was violating the civil rights of the mostly black, low-income students in the program. But now White is turning that rhetoric on Jindal. “It is high irony,” White said, “that people who support the civil right to choose a school don’t support the civil right to have all students take the same test.” He added pointedly: “Lowering expectations comes in many forms.” Stephanie Simon has the story: http://politico.pro/1wzkUoY”

“- Jindal spokesman Mike Reed dismissed White’s allegations. White’s education department is violating the law, he said. “These accusations are silly,” Reed said. “Under Louisiana law, the Louisiana Department of Education is required to issue a request for a proposal for an assessment, and the department has not done that. The department needs to abide by Louisiana law, do its job and issue an RFP.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he was withdrawing the state from Common Core and the PARCC test for Common Core. State Commissioner John White said that the governor was wrong and that the state is proceeding with both Common Core and PARCC. Governor Jindal cut the funding for PARCC.

Mercedes Schneider tries to untangle the elaborate political standoff.

State Commissioner John White says Louisiana will NOT drop Common Core or the PARCC tests.

John Whiite issued this statement:

Jun 18, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. – The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Department of Education today reaffirmed that the state will implement the Common Core State Standards, as well as grade 3-8 test forms and questions developed by states within the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) for the 2014-2015 school year. The Department will deliver and score the grade 3-8 tests using the state’s currently active contract for grade 3-8 testing, awarded through the state procurement process.

In 2010, after a public review process, BESE adopted the Common Core State Standards as minimum expectations for reading, writing, and mathematics. The Governor, the BESE President, and the State Superintendent then signed a commitment to developing test forms and questions that would allow the state’s performance to be measured in comparison with other states. Nearly 45,000 Louisiana students tried out the resulting PARCC forms and questions in March and April of 2014.

The plan to continue implementation fulfills BESE’s legal role and obligations. Under the Louisiana State Constitution, BESE “shall supervise and control the public elementary and secondary schools and special schools under its jurisdiction and shall have budgetary responsibility for all funds appropriated or allocated by the state for those schools, all as provided by law.”

State law requires that “[t]he state Department of Education shall, with the approval of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, as part of the Louisiana Competency-Based Education Program, develop and establish statewide content standards for required subjects to be taught in the public elementary and secondary schools of this state.”

Regarding the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC tests, state law mandates that “[b]eginning with the 2014-2015 school year, standards-based assessments shall be based on nationally recognized content standards.” State law also mandates that “[t]he rigor of each standard-based test, at a minimum, shall be comparable to national achievement tests” and “student achievement standards shall be set with reference to test scores of the same grade levels nationally.” The plan reaffirmed by BESE and the Department today meets with these legal requirements.

“For years, the law has required that BESE measure literacy and math achievement,” said BESE President Chas Roemer. “Four years ago, our board committed to measuring learning in comparison with states across the country, and two years ago the Legislature put this plan into the law. BESE is continuing to implement that law.”

“State and federal law have long required that Louisiana measure literacy and math performance through standards and annual tests,” said State Superintendent John White. “By using test forms and questions that make results comparable among states, we are following the Legislature’s mandate that we not only measure but also compete.”

For further information on Louisiana’s plan to raise expectations and compete with other states, click here.

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http://www.louisianabelieves.com/newsroom/news-releases/2014/06/18/state-to-continue-implementing-common-core-parcc

Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal held a press conference today to announce that the state is dropping its participation in PARCC and Common Core. He directed the state board to develop its own standards and assessments.

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