Locals react to Jindal's lawsuit over Common Core

Gov. Bobby Jindal accuses the federal government of hijacking the Common Core educational standards, so Jindal is swinging hard at the Obama Administration.

On Wednesday Jindal filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Education Department is violating the constitution.

"There's well-established federal law that the federal government has no place, no role in dictating curriculum decisions that should be made by local communities," said the governor.

Jindal, who has battled in state court to derail the higher math and English standards that make up Common Core, was once a strong backer of the higher educational standards but is now a fierce opponent.

"This is a classic example of political gamesmanship. This is an effort by the governor to appeal to conservatives on the national stage," said UNO Political Scientist Ed Chervenak, Ph.D.

But Jindal continues to deny that his stance has to do with a potential run for president.

"Others are trying to play politics with this, this is about the kids of Louisiana," he told reporters Wednesday.

The U.S. Education Department is using a $4 billion grant program and federal policy waivers to encourage states to embrace uniform education standards and testing associated with Common Core. Louisiana was among 40 states that signed on to Common Core before Jindal became highly critical.

"This is a bait and switch, they said all along they were going to let states and local communities develop these standards, but instead it's become a top-down approach from the federal government," continued Jindal.

But many school systems are sticking with Common Core despite the governor's position.

Jefferson Parish is among those staying the course, releasing the following statement:

"The CCSS standards are clear guideposts for what a child should know and be able to do in Math and ELA at the end of each grade level. These standards require students to explain their thinking, site evidence, and have a deep conceptual understanding of mathematics.

"We believe that these standards and rigorous assessments that measure the common core are positive for our students because our students are just as capable as all students in this nation. Our teachers have worked hard to implement these standards in ways that are engaging and lead to increased proficiency, and we support the continued use of the CCSS in Louisiana along with assessments aligned to these standards.

"Jefferson Parish teachers and administrators are doing the most important work of educating students every day. Based on the two most recent court rulings, we have more clarity now than we have had in the last 90 days. That clarity is what teachers deserve as they are planning their lessons and working together sustaining our momentum toward academic excellence by raising the bar and putting students first."

And the Republican-controlled Louisiana Legislature wrapped up earlier this summer without scrapping Common Core.

"There's an effort to really increase standards, especially in Louisiana where we're known for being a state that has very poor quality education," said Dr. Chervenak.

However, Jefferson Parish School Board member Mike Delesdernier said he sees some merit in Jindal's lawsuit against the federal education department.

"I think the appropriate battle lies where the governor is bringing it right now," he said.

Delesdernier said the feds have enormous power, as they control the purse strings.

"They just don't fund, they also punish. It's a carrot and stick if you read No Child Left Behind."

A spokesman for the state education department said the state courts have ruled and it is time to move on.

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