- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced plans Wednesday to pull his state out of the nationwide Common Core education standards and scrap the accompanying tests — putting him at odds with the his state legislature, the business community and his handpicked leader of the state’s department of eduction, who said the governor can’t unilaterally scrap the standards.

But the move puts Mr. Jindal — who is thought to be laying the foundation for a presidential run in 2016 — in line with many of the tea partyers and grass-roots conservative activists that see the new education standards as an overreach of the federal government and are expected to play a pivotal role in presidential nomination process.

On Thursday, some of the same activists are scheduled to converge on Washington for the Road to Majority conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The event will serve as a showcase for some of the party’s likely 2016 presidential candidates. Mr. Jindal is scheduled to deliver the final remarks at the three-day event, which include breakout sessions on education reform and religious liberty.

Speaking in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, Mr. Jindal said he sent a letter to the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers notifying them that the state will not use the tests it is developing for Common Core. He also issued an executive order requiring state education officials to have competitive bidding for the standardized tests.

He also directed the state education officials to develop “Louisiana standards” that state lawmakers could take up in their next legislative session.

The legislature did not act to scrap Common Core during its legislative session earlier this month.

“This is an important enough matter where we’ve got to take a stand, and as governor of this great state, one of my responsibilities is to make sure we don’t give up on our Tenth Amendment rights,” Mr. Jindal said. “That we don’t give up to the federal government powers that don’t belong to the federal government. These are powers that belong to state and local governments. This is an important enough fight.”

The announcement marks a dramatic shift for Mr. Jindal, who up until this year was a staunch supporter of the new education standards.

State Rep. Brett Geymann, a leading Republican opponent of the standards, celebrated the governor’s evolution.

“He shared the same concerns that many of us have with the one-size-fits-all standards and the federal government dictating our education,” Mr. Geymann said.

But state educational officials said the roll-out of Common Core will continue as planned and the standardized tests will be used.

Still, the announcement could bolster the stock of Mr. Jindal, who has struggled to carve out a niche on the national stage and has been often overshadowed by some of the party’s more charismatic rising stars, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who also opposed Common Core.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, another likely 2016 presidential contender, supports the standards.

Emmett McGroarty, Education Director of American Principles Project, a conservative group, said that Mr. Jindal’s decision puts him shoulder to shoulder with “the moms, dads, and other citizens of Louisiana who are pushing back against the federal overreach.”

“Louisiana has begun the process of getting rid of the defective and inferior standards foisted upon it by the federal government,” Mr. McGroarty said.

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