Gov. Bobby Jindal sought Wednesday to derail Louisiana’s use of standardized tests tied to the Common Core education standards, but state education leaders say the governor’s executive order is meaningless.
The Republican governor opposes the English and math standards adopted by most states as an attempted federal takeover of education, and he said he’s committed to stopping Louisiana’s participation in the Common Core.
“Common Core’s become a one-size-fits-all model that simply doesn’t make sense for our state,” Jindal said at a news conference.
Both state lawmakers and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education have voted in support of the standards. Jindal’s executive authority is limited, so he sought to strike at testing from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career that is linked to the standards as a backdoor way to get Louisiana out of Common Core. He also says he’ll ask lawmakers next year to revisit the standards.
Among a series of anti-Common Core actions announced Wednesday, the governor put out an executive order requiring a competitive bid process for public school standardized tests.
The Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education planned to use Common Core-related testing for students in third- through eighth-grades, but the tests haven’t yet been purchased for the upcoming school year. Jindal said the tests in question appear to be most expensive available, so he’s confident they couldn’t be chosen in competitive bidding for standardized tests.
But Superintendent of Education John White and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Chairman Chas Roemer say the governor’s executive order won’t change the roll-out of Common Core in classrooms or the use of the PARCC test.
White said his department can buy test questions under an existing contract with an outside vendor. The Jindal administration disagrees.
“We’re planning on going ahead and implementing the plan that’s in accordance with state law and with what we’ve been doing for four years,” White said.
Where the dispute heads next is unclear.
Jindal’s office didn’t immediately say whether the governor would consider taking state educations officials to court over the testing, to try to stop the use of PARCC.
Gov. Bobby Jindal signed two bills into law Friday (May 23) that will expand gun rights for Louisiana residents after they received overwhelming support from the state Legislature. The new statutes will go into effect Aug. 1.
The more sweeping of the two gun rights measures will allow people with concealed handgun permits to carry their weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol, but make most of their money from food sales.
Present law does not allow citizens to carry guns into establishments that serve alcohol. And while people with concealed handgun permits will be able to go into a restaurant serving alcohol soon, they still wouldn’t be able to drink alcohol while packing heat.
The soon-to-be law also gives current and retired law enforcement officers as well as district attorneys and judges even more flexibility than the general public when it comes to concealed weapons. Those in law enforcement would be allowed to carry guns into bars, though they also couldn’t drink while carrying a weapon.
In present law, law enforcement officers are only allowed to have their guns in a bar if they are acting in an official capacity. Even under the new law, local sheriffs will still be able to prohibit their own officers from carrying guns into bars if they didn’t think it was a good idea.
The second bill signed by Jindal will expand the “stand your ground” law in Louisiana. Under current law, a person who kills an intruder coming into his car or house is given the benefit of the doubt and can use self-defense as a lawful reason for the killing. But the same self-defense argument could not be legally applied to situations where a person hurt, but didn’t kill, the intruder.
Metairie Rep. Joe Lopinto, the sponsor of the legislation, said he wanted to close that loophole. People who end up harming – but not killing – an intruder or a carjacker should not be charged with murder if those who kill those people don’t face those consequences, he said.
“Stand your ground” laws are controversial, particularly after it was thought Florida resident George Zimmerman would use such a statute to defend his high-profile shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin.
There has also been a controversial “stand your ground” case in New Orleans, where a 33-year-old Marigny homeowner shot an unarmed 14-year-old. Lopinto said his legislation would not apply to this particular case because the shooting took place outdoors.
In an unusual move for Louisiana, the Legislature and Jindal have agreed to enact one new gun restriction. Domestic abusers under a legal protective order will be prevented from owning a gun for 10 years under a new law that will go into effect Aug. 1.
The National Rifle Association – which usually fights gun restrictions – remained neutral on the domestic abuser provision, which is probably one of the reasons the pro-gun Legislature and Jindal agreed to pass it.
When presenting the restriction, state Sen. J.P. Morrell said Louisiana has a particularly high rate of fatalities related to domestic abuse. ”We lead the nation in spouses murdering spouses with firearms,” he said.
MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Obama first delivered a pitch for the creation of jobs by fixing roads, dredging ports and modernizing the U.S. air traffic control system.
Then he took a veiled jab at Jindal for failing to support a key plank of the healthcare law.
Louisiana is one of 24 states that has refused federal funds to expand Medicaid to more low-income people, money that Obama said would help 265,000 people in the state gain access to health insurance.
“Even if you don’t support the overall plan, let’s at least go ahead and make sure that the folks who don’t have health insurance right now and can get it through an expanded Medicaid, let’s make sure we do that,” Obama said.
That opened the door for Jindal to accuse Obama of trying to “bully” the state.
“We will not allow President Obama to bully Louisiana into accepting an expansion of Obamacare,” Jindal said in a statement, saying the expansion would cost the state too much.
“The dysfunction of the website and the president’s broken promises on being able to keep your health plan are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the problems with this law,” Jindal said.
Good for Jindal