One of Bobby Jindal's longtime allies says the Louisiana governor had no authority to reject Common Core academic standards, and that he's violating the civil rights of poor children by his decision.
Jindal is not only breaking the law, State Schools Superintendent John White told Politico
, but he "breached a constitutional line" by pulling out of a federal consortium that is developing tests aligned to the Common Core standards.
White said Common Core sets standards for all students and the tests show how students compare to their peers in other states or countries, and to Jindal to deny students the opportunity is not fair, White said.
"When you go to school in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, who is there to validate that the learning that’s taking place and the results you’ve gotten stack up against the rest of society?" White told Politico. "These tests assure the civil rights especially of the most disadvantaged children."
Jindal and White worked together to advance education reforms including a statewide voucher program that provides state funds to allow low-income families to send their children to private and parochial schools. They fought an attempt from the Obama administration to stop the program, saying the president and Attorney General Eric Holder were violating civil rights of mostly black, low-income students.
They also started a program that allows students to take classes from several providers, including trade associations, labor unions and universities.
But White told Politico that it is "high irony" that people who champion the voucher system don't support the rights of students to take the same test.
Jindal spokesman Mike Reed accused White and the education system of breaking the law.
"These accusations are silly," Reed told the political news website. "Under Louisiana law, the Louisiana Department of Education is required to issue a request for a proposal for an assessment, and the department has not done that. The department needs to abide by Louisiana law, do its job and issue an RFP."
Jindal is among a growing list of conservatives who once supported Common Core but have since back pedaled following President Barack Obama’s decision to tie federal education grants to states’ adopting the standards.
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