Sincere or calculating

I have a hard time believing politicians, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is the current shining example of why I am that way.  He’s the latest to jump on the “Sue Barack Obama” bandwagon with his lawsuit against Common Core.

Back in 2010, this was part of the remarks that Gov. Jindal gave when he addressed the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry at their annual meeting.

“When I went to these schools I asked them how we could empower them to do more of what worked and eliminate obstacles to help them end practices that waste money on programs that don’t work.   “After our schools visits and meetings, it’s clear that our path to reform centers around three pillars:

·          Putting a highly effective teacher in every classroom

·          Giving parents and students an equal opportunity in education; and

·          Giving school leaders more flexibility to spend their dollars on policies that improve student achievement

“Over the past four years, we’ve already taken steps to meet these goals, including:

·          Creating the Red Tape Waiver to help local school districts cut through red tape and provide schools with the flexibility needed to improve student performance;

·          Starting the student-based budgeting pilot to put the decisions about dollars in the hands of people closest to students;

·          Passing a new value added teacher evaluation system that gives personalized feedback on student achievement to teachers;

·          Adopting the Common Core State Standards, which will raise expectations for every child;

·          Creating the scholarship program in New Orleans to give parents of students at failing schools more opportunity to meet their children’s needs;

·          Expanding the number of charter schools; and

·          Supporting the significant growth of the Louisiana Virtual School.

Fast forward to 2014, and now he wants nothing to do with Common Core.  In previous statements, he’s said such things as, “Centralized planning didn’t work in Russia, it’s not working with our health care system and it won’t work in education.”  Never mind the fact that, as the governor of Louisiana, Jindal was all for Common Core when it first rolled out.

WASHINGTONThe National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today released the names of the states and territories that have joined the Common Core State Standards Initiative: Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Utah; Vermont; Virgin Islands; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming.

Now that Common Core has become the fight de jure of conservatives, most of the Republican governors would rather be caught in the back of a limo with a dead prostitute as opposed to backing Common Core in public. 

I can understand the desire for local control of education, and I grew up in an age of local control of education.  What I don’t understand is why America can’t have one single set of educational goals for every single student in this country.  Do we not want our kids to be the best and brightest?  Schools are still funded locally and controlled by local boards, so I fail to see how having a common goal amounts to federal takeover of education.

We’re falling farther and farther behind when compared to other countries when it comes to education.  I don’t want my kids to be dumber than a sack of rocks, so anything that can improve their education is perfectly fine by me.  I know that the school system is still controlled by the local board, and not Arnie Duncan.  I know that my taxes pay for the school system.  The last time I checked, there were no educational policy makers here that were sent down from Washington DC.

How does one go from actively supporting an attempt in improving our educational system to suing the federal government?  I guess that, if your eyes are focused on getting nominated in 2016, you have to do whatever will get you support from your base as well as the financial support from the PACS and deep pocketed individuals.

In all this, it seems as though the kids are getting the middle finger.


8 thoughts on “Sincere or calculating

  1. So telling states you’re setting up a fund, and if they participate they can apply for funds is ‘taking over’?!!?

    That’s like saying a bakery hears about a special olympics event and tells the organizers ‘tell the kids that everyone who enters gets a cupcake’ and one person says “No way! That means you’d be taking over our event!!!”

    Texas’s Ed Commissioner is ‘suspending’ testing for a while (results wouldn’t have been pretty). Keeps putting his foot in his mouth. Latest remark was it isn’t the kids’ fault, it’s the instruction. Then someone pointed out he was criticizing the same teachers he’d praised the week before and he really began fumbling.


    • So telling states you’re setting up a fund, and if they participate they can apply for funds is ‘taking over’?!!?

      I guess it’s one of those slippery slope thingamabobs. I guess they see it as the feds will slowly try to dictate things just as the states get hooked on that federal graft.


      • Just to give a little historical perspective, back when I was a kid one of the arguments made was “you take the Federal money, they’ll be telling you what to do”. That one has come true in a whole lot more places than just education. Remember when they started withholding highway funds for non-compliance with the 55 MPH speed limit?


        • Yeah, you have a point there. If the states don’t want to depend on federal dollars, then they need to do a better job of allocating funding on the state and local level. I can only imagine how much I will end up spending on supplies for my girls that my parents never had to consider.


  2. Is he sincere or calculating? I haven’t a clue.

    I am against Common Core, as I believe in local control of schools. From what I’ve seen of it, Common Core is just the latest “flavor of the month” education fad and 5 or 10 years from now we’ll be right here talking about whatever the latest education industry fad is.

    In my opinion, teach the kids reading, writing, and basic math and the rest will take care of itself. Without a solid background in those, it’s a waste of time to try to teach the higher concepts. Instilling discipline into the schools and letting the teachers teach instead of spending countless hours doing mindless paperwork and things will turn around.

    Just the other day, I went through a line at the store and my change was to be $17.55, so I told the girl, I’ve got 45¢. Her reply was, “Can you do the math on that? I always have trouble with that”. I don’t know for a fact but I’d wager this girl was a high school graduate. I see examples of this time and again.

    Computers are a tool and can be a good one but there’s far too much emphasis in schools on computers rather than learning.


    • I went through a line at the store and my change was to be $17.55, so I told the girl, I’ve got 45¢. Her reply was, “Can you do the math on that? I always have trouble with that”. I don’t know for a fact but I’d wager this girl was a high school graduate.

      This is why I don’t have a problem with setting national standards. I don’t know if Common Core dictates exactly how, when, and what is taught, but I don’t see anything wrong with having a national standard that’s taught at the local level. In the grand scheme of things, the education of kids boils down to the local level anyway.

      Where I think we’ve gone off the rails is with the over reliance on standardized tests. I remember taking them when I was in school, but we didn’t do them every year. It was more like every 4-5 school years or so.

      I’m like you in that we need to get back to teaching the basics. I finished college with a degree in math, and I didn’t own a calculator until college. I learned how to do it all by hand, whether it was the long method or using shortcuts. This is what we’re lacking in schools now because they teach kids to pass a test instead of giving them the knowledge to pass life.


      • There was a thing a while back that I sent to Josef, maybe he could remember where I found it, but it was a sample problem from Common Core for I think it was a 4th grader. It was a very simple problem but the way they had it, it took like 20 or 30 steps to solve it. Some guy whose child brought this problem home and said it was senseless and he was an engineer. Wish I remembered the details but the sample problem was a complete and total turkey screwing.

        I still think kids need to learn their multiplication tables, up through 12, just like we did (division as well but they sort of go hand in hand). There’s something to be said for rote learning at a young age. I even still know my multiplication tables at my advanced age 😉

        Another pet peeve of mine is how many people graduate high school and can’t balance a check book. Making change and writing checks are things damn near everybody is going to need to know.


        • I’ve seen that stuff, and I’m already seeing it with my oldest in the first grade. She’s lucky enough to have two college educated parents that learned the old school way.


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