Archives for category: Jindal, Bobby

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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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.

A judge tossed out a significant part of Governor Bobby Jindal’s law denying due process for teachers. The judge said the teacher did not have a fair hearing.


In 2012, Governor Bobby Jindal rammed through the legislature his compleat program of privatization of public schools and dismantling the teaching profession.

But things have not gone well since then because of the judiciary.

The funding if the voucher program was held unconstitutional and so was the act that outraged teachers.

The latter was overturned a second time.

The courts continue to be the guardians of due process. They have a habit of sticking to the state and federal constitutions.

Bobby Jindal thought he could launch the nation’s most sweeping privatization program in Louisiana but he has run into unexpected obstacles. First, the Louisiana courts struck down the funding for Jindal’s voucher plan, then they struck down Jindal’s multi-faceted plan to destroy the teaching profession. Then, The results from the voucher schools were disappointing–their scores were worse than the allegedly failing public schools. Of course, it didn’t help Louisiana’s image when some of the fundamentalist texts at the voucher schools made the state an international laughing stock.

Now parents are getting angry as they see Jindal’s charters move into their local school district. In Lafayette Parish, two moms have started a group to support public schools.

“LAFAYETTE — Two Lafayette Parish public-school parents, who fought last year against for-profit charter operators opening schools here, have organized a new watchdog group called Power of Public Education Lafayette.

“Parents Kathleen Espinoza and Ann Burruss organized the watchdog group Swamp BESE last year in protest of two charter groups’ applications to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to open charter schools in Lafayette Parish.

“After the Lafayette Parish School Board rejected the applications, the groups then applied to the state board, which approved the applications.

“Three of the five new charter schools planned for the parish are set to open in August.

“The new group formed by Espinoza and Burruss is policy-focused and has an interest in advocating for public policies that promote public education free of privatization.

“There needs to be an alternative voice to that movement,” Espinoza said.

“Espinoza said while the charter school issue served as a catalyst for the group, its focus is on advocacy to ensure all students receive an equitable education.

“It’s about empowering teachers in the classroom and protecting the democratic engine of public education,” she said.”

Parents get it. They get that there is a movement to destroy what these moms eloquently call “the democratic engine of public education.”

The tide is turning.

When the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Louisiana’s voucher program, on grounds that it threatened to undermine court-ordered desegregation, Jindal went on a well-publicized rant against the DOJ, claiming politics. Suddenly, Jindal presented himself as a leader of he civil rights movement, trying to save poor black kids from failing public schools. His op-eds appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and other media. Shocking that the U.S. Department of Justice was upholding court orders intended to protect the roghts of black children!

Jeb Bush rushed to Jindal’s side, claiming that the voucher program was already showing amazing results. So did GOP leaders in Congress, including John Boehner.

Of course, none of this was true.

The courts in Louisiana said the funding for the voucher program was unconstitutional. So many voucher schools taught creationism and lacked qualified teachers that the voucher program made the state an international laughingstock.

The test scores of the students in the voucher schools were appallingly low, but, hey, there’s always next year.

Here Louisiana blogger CenLamar shows how cynical Jindal was.

He writes: here about Jindal’s claims:

“Unfortunately, that’s just not true. None of it. The truth is, from the very beginning, Bobby Jindal and John White worked with a group of highly-paid political consultants to market the voucher program, almost exclusively, to African-Americans. The Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Opportunities (or LA BAEO) was created, seemingly out of thin air, by a national organization of conservative “school choice” activists, and they spent months touring the state and recruiting African-Americans to participate in the program, with very little understanding of the public schools they were attempting to disparage as “failures.” For example, about a year ago, I got into a Twitter exchange with one of LA BAEO’s principal consultants over remarks he had made about Peabody Magnet High School in my hometown of Alexandria. Peabody may not be an academic powerhouse, but it is a damn good school with an amazing campus and a deep connection with its community. But nonetheless, LA BAEO held town hall meetings in Alexandria in an attempt to convince parents to take their kids out of Peabody and, instead, enroll them in voucher schools. It didn’t seem to matter that the voucher schools in Central Louisiana are, with only a few exceptions, fly-by-night church schools with shoddy facilities, questionable finances, and uncertified teachers.

“See, the real issue– and how Bobby Jindal duped John Boehner– is that, on the whole, Louisiana’s voucher schools are significantly worse than the public schools. Jindal and Boehner both argue that Louisiana’s voucher program provides students with the opportunity to seek a “better education.” In reality, however, Louisiana’s voucher program is comprised, in large part, of unaccountable and completely unregulated schools, many of which rely on thoroughly discounted, ahistorical, and anti-scientific curricula.

“Last year, voucher students scored thirty points less on the LEAP test than their peers in public schools. Notably, while Superintendent White and Governor Jindal love to use test results as a way of gauging the performance of public schools, neither of them were willing to make the same argument against the dramatically worse performance of voucher schools.”

CenLamar sums up Jindal’s voucher program: “We’re not sending 91% of Louisiana’s voucher students to the best and most important voucher schools. This is not about integrating African-American students in traditionally and well-established and high-performing private schools; this is nothing to do with integration and almost everything to do with quietly re-codifying segregation.”

When questioned about the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Louisiana’s voucher program, Secretary of Education Duncan said he was “not familiar” with it. DOJ is suing to block vouchers in districts that are under desegregation orders. DOJ recognizes that vouchers will exacerbate racial segregation.

This was reported on’s morning education edition, a valuable resource for breaking news:

“DUNCAN ‘NOT FAMILIAR’ WITH DOJ VOUCHER LAWSUIT – The Education Secretary made the rounds for back-to-school interviews Wednesday and ducked a question about the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit ( ) over Louisiana’s voucher program. The department is trying to block vouchers for the 2014-15 school year in districts under desegregation orders, arguing that the vouchers set back desegregation efforts. It’s been the focus of a high-profile campaign by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, both Republicans, who accuse the Obama administration of trapping poor, minority students in failing schools. “I’m not familiar with that lawsuit,” Duncan said in response to a question on public radio’s Diane Rehm Show. “That’s between the Department of Justice and the state of Louisiana.” Jindal’s Wednesday op-ed for the Washington Post is here:”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal went into a partisan rant before a far-right audience, complaining that the U.S. Department of Justice had sued to block the state’s voucher program.

The legal action was taken to prevent vouchers from undermining desegregation in counties (parishes) that remain under court order.

In a bizarre twist, Jindal portrayed himself as a champion of the civil rights of poor children, helping them escape the state’s “failing schools” to flee to religious schools, some of which have uncertified teachers and use textbooks that teach creationism and Bible-based interpretations of history. The school that received the most voucher students has already been kicked out of the program for defrauding the state.

Out of 380,000 students eligible to receive vouchers, only 8,000 applied. No stampede there.

The funding for the vouchers was already struck down as unconstitutional by state courts because they took money dedicated in the state constitution to public schools.

We are in bizarro world when a rightwing champion of market-based education claims to be a civil rights champion.

This post by one of Louisiana’s great bloggers reports that the state’s voucher program undermines federal desegregation orders.  Pesky things, the Constitution, the law, and court orders.

Cenlamar writes:

Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice asked Judge Ivan Lemelle to issue an injunction preventing the State of Louisiana from providing taxpayer-subsidized school vouchers in 2014 to students residing in any of the thirty-four parishes currently subjected to federal desegregation orders. In simple terms, Governor Bobby Jindal, Superintendent John White, and the Louisiana Department of Education have been completely unable and unwilling to provide the federal government with sufficient evidence that their controversial school voucher program complies with the law. Because Superintendent John White and his team at the Louisiana Department of Education could not or would not provide the federal government with documentation demonstrating their compliance, the Department of Justice was, essentially, forced to go to court. Quoting from the lawsuit (bold mine):

Only after filing multiple motions in this case and receiving an order of this Court (see Record Docs. No. 109-202), did the United States finally receive, in March of 2013, the information and data it requested from the State. After analyzing the data, the United States determined that the State’s voucher awards appeared to impede the desegregation process in 34 schools in 13 districts. On May 17, 2013, the United States sent a letter to the State… requesting that the State cease its practice of awarding vouchers to students attending school districts operating under federal desegregation orders unless and until it receives approval from the presiding federal court. The State has not responded to that letter and, on information and belief of the United States, has already awarded vouchers for the 2013-2014 school year to students attending school districts operating under desegregation orders.


To date, the State has awarded vouchers for 2013-2014 to students in 22 of the 34 school districts with pending federal desegregation orders. See supra at notes 3-4 and Exhibit E. Upon information and belief, the State did not seek the approval of the appropriate federal court prior to awarding the vouchers to students in these districts. Further, the State did not contact the parties to the federal desegregation cases prior to awarding vouchers. Upon information and belief of the United States, the State did not evaluate the impact the vouchers would have on the desegregation process in any of the school districts operating under a federal desegregation order.

Lance Hill of Néw Orleans, who has a long history in the civil rights movement, notes that Governor Bobby Jindal has been routing the “comeback” of Néw Orleans, giving credit in part to its privatized schools.

Lance points out that Forbes ranks Néw Orleans as 198th of 200 US cities in job growth. No miracle there .


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