Another Republican chooses to sue the Administration
Bobby Jindal, the Republican Governor of Louisiana, filed suit against the Obama administration on Wednesday. He argues that the Department of Education has exceeded its constitutional authority by offering states grants if they choose to opt-in to the Common Core standards.
Jindal’s Complaint claims the Common Core is “an attempt by the executive branch to implement national education reform far beyond the intentions of Congress; in fact, in contradiction to 50 years of Congressional policy forbidding federal direction or control of curriculum, the cornerstone of education policy.”
While this lawsuit makes little sense for a variety of reasons, perhaps the strangest is the complete about-face Jindal made. Not only did he sign the legislation implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), his administration actively pushed the legislature to enact them. Back in 2012, Stafford Palmieri, Jindal’s top education policy adviser, wrote: “I frankly don’t foresee a controversy over this and if there is one and we come out swinging about how impt [sic] this is that helps not hurts our case. We stand very firmly behind CCSS as you know,” according to emails obtained The Times-Picayune.
However, in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal is one of only a few politicians to choose politics over kids.
Back in May, a bill to repeal the Common Core didn’t even make it out of the Louisiana Senate Education Committee. And in April, the corresponding House committee shot down two Jindal-backed repeal bills. While a fraction of the state legislature tried to stop implementation by suing Education Superintendent John White, their request was denied. White, too, remains an ardent supporter of the standards.
Jindal marks the far-right on Common Core: only a handful of states are not participating in the voluntary program. If Jindal gets his way, he will join a select group of flip-floppers:
- Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, who once supported their implementation, signed a bill this June to repeal them.
- South Carolina first adopted the standards in 2010, but also had them repealed this summer.
- Indiana led the way with its repeal in March, though its new state standards are remarkably similar.
By choosing to sue the Obama administration, Bobby Jindal enters a league of his own on the Common Core. He himself has protested unnecessary lawsuits, once remarking: “This bill will help stop frivolous lawsuits and create a more fair and predictable legal environment, and I am proud to sign it into law.” Unfortunately, he and other Republicans are gumming up the legal system instead of helping ordinary Americans.
BOTTOM LINE: When your duly elected state legislature and elected members of your Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Superintendent of education that you appointed all believe that the Common Core is good for Louisiana’s students, you should listen. Choosing politics – and a possible 2016 presidential run – over schoolchildren is wrong.