Louisiana Governor Signs Common Core Compromise Bills

Published September 21, 2015

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has signed into law three bills designed to create a compromise between Common Core supporters and opponents.

The laws, which require public hearings and a review of the proposed standards, give the state legislature more power to review changes made by the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) this year.

House Bill 373, one of the three compromise laws, requires public hearings to discuss Common Core standards in the state’s six congressional districts. It also requires BESE to finish its revision of the state’s education standards by March 4, 2016.

The second of the three bills, Senate Bill 43, adds legislative committees to the review process. Those committees can only accept or review the changes entirely and cannot evaluate individual items.

The third bill, House Bill 542, requires less than half of the test questions for the 2015–16 exams to come from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers consortium.

Jindal, who originally supported Common Core, has since changed his view on the issue, and in August 2014, he sued the federal Department of Education for coercing states into adopting the standards through the Race to the Top grant program. Louisiana State Education Superintendent John White remained a supporter of Common Core and fought against Jindal in a long debate over the standards.

Kevin Kane, president of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, says the long-term implications of the bills are unclear.

“The compromise has definitely cooled things down on the Common Core front,” Kane said. “Statewide elections are being held in the fall, so we will have a new governor and any number of new legislators getting engaged. Students and families can expect to continue with the new testing regime for the foreseeable future, but it remains to be seen what changes will flow from the compromise over time.”  

‘Opponents Will Likely Be Disappointed’

“Common Core’s opponents will likely be disappointed with how this legislation works out in practice,” said Ben Boychuk, an associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal

Boychuk says the addition of legislative hearings and committee oversight offers no guarantee the standards would change or be repealed and replaced. 

“Notice that the law says the legislature’s education committee may review what the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education does, but it can only accept or reject changes in standards and testing wholesale, rather than cutting out bad elements and preserving the good,” Boychuk explained. “That creates a powerful incentive for legislators to accept what BESE produces rather than upset the process.”

Chris Neal ([email protected]) writes from New York, New York.

Image by Derek Bridges.

Internet Info

“Bobby Jindal signs Common Core accord, says next step is electing leaders to scrap standards,” The New Orleans Advocate, June 30, 2015: http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/news/12784127-123/jindal-signs-common-core-accord