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Understanding Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's Veto of a 'Pro-Common Core' Bill

During a CBS "This Morning" interview of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on June 17, as well as in other venues, there have been references to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's veto of what's been described of a bill supporting the Common Core State Standards. In a story published last week, I mentioned the bill, which was authored by state Rep. Walt Leger, a Democrat. But what's really in the bill, and what does Jindal's June 13 veto mean?

The bill is supportive of the common core and its aims, like the creation of "rigorous student achievement standards" that can be used for national comparisons, although the standards aren't mentioned by name. The intended impact of the bill, however, deals with how the standards impact the state's accountability system.

As I discussed in my article, Leger wanted to extend the delay of the tests' impact already approved by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at the end of last year. Originally proposed by state Superintendent John White, the plan right now in Louisiana is not to use value-added data from test scores in teacher evaluations for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Leger's bill would extend that delay to the 2015-16 school year.

The common core, despite Jindal's energetic opposition, remains what the still uses for content standards in English/language arts and math. Leger's bill wouldn't ultimately impact that. But to the extent that the bill is perceived as pro-common core, especially by state legislators who have refused to bend to Jindal's attacks on the standards, it's not surprising that Jindal would in turn veto it. (Veto-override votes by the Louisiana legislature, by the way, are rare—there hasn't been a successful veto override in that state in over 20 years, the Times-Picayune reported last week.)

Duncan, when asked about Jindal's position on CBS, wryly noted that Jindal used to be in favor of the common core, which is a true statement.

As an aside, it's worth looking back on this analysis of GOP governors' respective positions on the common core created by the American Enterprise Institute's Mike McShane. If you consider which Republican governors are most often mentioned as possible presidential candidates in 2016, you'll find several opponents of the standards, such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Jindal. Among GOP governors who support common core, according to McShane, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the most prominent, and arguably the only, presidential contender, although Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been mentioned as a potential candidate as well. 

There's no ironclad rule for identifying common-core support by party, and some governors are more robust in their support or opposition than others. But whether or not a Republican governor has his or her eyes on the White House can be a useful guide.

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