Louisiana Governor and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal is continuing to voice his growing outrage over the Common Core state education standards, which the federal government played an influential role in encouraging most states to adopt.
Speaking at a Thursday luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. hosted by the American Principles Project, a conservative organization rallying opposition to Common Core, Jindal argued that the Common Core standards stand against American values and causes local communities to lose control over how they educate their own children.
Although Jindal initially supported the Common Core standards when they were first introduced in 2010, in the last year he has flipped sides and now strongly opposes it. Many pundits claim that Jindal's recent switch on Common Core is due to the fact that he is trying to jockey for support in the upcoming 2016 elections by appealing to many Tea Party and social conservative voters who also oppose the standards.
Jindal maintains, however, that he began to oppose Common Core when saw what how it was being administered in the classroom and how involved the federal government was in incentivising states to adopt the set of standards.
"Local parents, local teachers, local leaders need to make these decisions," Jindal asserted. "The idea that through Common Core, that we would allow for the first time the federal government to be making curriculum decisions, in violation of the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution and violation of long-established federal law."
Although the federal government played no official role in writing the standards, as its development was sponsored by the National Association of Governors, Jindal and other conservatives are accusing the Department of Education of coercing states to accept the standards by holding $4.3 billion in Race to Top federal education funding ransom so that the states feel they must adopt the standards.
The standards were initially adopted by all 45 states, but since then two states have dropped the standards and four others are moving to a review of the state standards.
"At the end of the day, I'm confident we're going to win," Jindal said. "As more and more teachers, more and more kids and more and more parents are exposed to the fallacies of Common Core, our numbers continue to grow."
Although the Common Core does not currently contain history standards, just history texts, Jindal warned that federal involvement could cause history curriculum to focus less on "American Exceptionalism" and more about the "grievances" and "victimhood" caused by the United States.
"Imagine what happens when the federal government gets to decide they get to make curriculum decisions. What happens when many of the elites, that have already effected higher education, begin teaching American history?" Jindal asked. "We risk all the American exceptionalism, if we allow the elites, often times unelected behind close doors with no transparency, to dictate to us how our children are going to learn about American history and civics and other important topics that [provide] citizenry with critical thinking."
Although Jindal now despises the Common Core, Louisiana is one of 12 states that will begin administering the Common Core-aligned PARCC tests this spring. Last week, Jindal issued an executive order for the state board of education to provide students with an alternate test, should their parents not want them to take the PARCC test. But, the president of the state education board refused to listen to Jindal's order and claimed Jindal only issued the order for political gain.
In August, Jindal filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education on behalf of Louisiana alleging that the department broke the law by making the Race to the Top funding conditional and based upon whether or not the states adopted Common Core.
In June, Jindal tried to pull Louisiana out of Common Core, but the state education board, education superintendent and state legislature opposed such a move.
"In our entire history as a country, we've never allowed the federal government to make these decisions for us. Now is not the time to start," Jindal said. "Trust these moms. I have more confidence in the moms in this room than I do in any collection of bureaucrats."