Bobby Jindal on Education

Republican Governor; previously Representative (LA-1)

Teach kids the best science; but no comment on evolution

Like the experienced tennis player he is, Jindal repeatedly batted away questions about whether he believes the theory of evolution explains the existence of complex life forms on Earth. Pressed for his personal view, Jindal--who earned a specialized biology degree in an elite pre-med program at Brown University--declined to give one. He said only that "as a parent I want my children taught the best science." He didn't say what that "science" was.
Source: Huffington Post 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 16, 2014

Local control instead of Common Core

After initially supporting the Common Core attempt to write national education standards, the governor now opposes the project.

Jindal takes the latter stance in the name of greater "local control" of education--which would presumably allow Louisiana schools to teach his version of acceptable "science."

Source: Huffington Post 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 16, 2014

I am for standards, but against Common Core

Jindal is hitching his wagon to the growing movement against the nationwide school standards known as Common Core, which have become a lightning rod for the tea party and other conservative activists.

Jindal won a major round of applause at the recent Republican Leadership Conference when he highlighted his opposition to the Obama administration-backed Common Core. He took a firm stand against the mathematics and English education standards that Louisiana and 44 other states have adopted. "I am for standards. I am for our kids learning," the second-term governor said. "I am for our kids being able to compete, but it seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with the bureaucrats in the federal government--especially [those] who think they know best and [that children] don't need to listen to parents."

His current opposition to Common Core puts him at odds with John White, the Louisiana state superintendent of education, who was Jindal's top pick for the job.

Source: Washington Times 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 8, 2014

Supported Common Core initially; now opposes it

With his outspoken opposition against Common Core, Jindal finds himself on the same page as grass-roots conservatives, who dub the standards "Obamacore." But activists say they want more than Jindal's verbal opposition to Common Core. They want him to support legislative efforts, or use his veto power, to put the brakes on some of the standardized tests.

[One Republican State Representative], who has led efforts to gut Common Core, said Jindal could have done more at the statehouse to get lawmakers on board: "He has not been engaged in the legislative process to get rid of Common Core, whereas with school choice he was very much engaged."

[One activist said], "it makes us question just exactly his true intent after he was so adamantly for Common Core." [Another activist said] Jindal has talked the talk and now she wants him to walk the walk, much like he did on school choice: "All we have is words right now," she said. "We've had no action

Source: Washington Times 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 8, 2014

$141M more to train students for the jobs of the future

We have tens of thousands of jobs in the pipeline that must be filled, and our next challenge is to ensure we have the skilled workforce to fill these jobs of the future. Economists have recently said they have never seen an industrial expansion like the one under way in Louisiana, but have also warned that we must do a better job training skilled workers that will be needed to fill the demand for jobs at the major industrial and high tech projects coming to Louisiana.

That's why our top priority this legislative session must be making sure we have the resources to prepare our students and train them for the jobs of the future.

In order to help meet this goal, our budget for next year will increase total higher education funding by over $141 million. This funding includes a new higher education workforce incentive initiative of $40 million that will better prepare Louisiana students to compete in the new global economy.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to the Louisiana legislature , Mar 10, 2014

Fight to give parents choices in schools

Who could be against giving choices to parents? Eric Holder and President Obama, that's who could be against giving parents choices. The Department of Justice has taken us to federal court to try to impede this program. We've got [Attorney General] Eric Holder trying to stand in the schoolhouse door to prevent minority kids, low-income kids, kids who haven't had access to a great education the chance to go better schools. Over 90% of these kids are minority children. Over 100% of these kids are in low-income families who would otherwise go to C, D, or F schools.

I think it is cynical, immoral, and hypocritical for the attorney general and the president to deny these children the same choices and chances they would want for their own children.

It's especially cynical to try to use those same rules designed to protect these children to trap them in failing schools. But I've got a message for Eric Holder: We're going to fight them every step of the way to defend these children's rights.

Source: Speech at 2014 CPAC convention , Mar 7, 2014

For school choice & tenure reform

You know, this president feels like he can act unilaterally. He feels like with the pen and phone he can make decisions without congress. My party needs to be the party that says we've got real solutions on education, let's be for school choice, let's be for tenure reform. Let's say to the Democratic Party stopping being captive to the teacher unions, let's give every child the chance to get a great education.
Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 23, 2014

Reward good teachers with flex pay

In my first year as governor, I proposed a flex pay program for teachers so that school districts could pay more to attract the teachers they need. But local school leaders said they couldn't adopt the program because the unions would make their lives miserable. The union's goal is to convince teachers that seniority is the only fair way to allocate pay. But that's hardly in the interest of individual teachers who want to excel.

In 2010, we passed a value-added teacher evaluation bill geared toward teaching and student achievement. It brings accountability to schools and actually measures teachers and classrooms based on results. This legislation assesses teachers fairly, based on a student's true progress during the course of a year. These data will help to identify the good teachers to reward them.

Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p. 67-68 , Nov 15, 2010

Pay 90% of public school cost as private & parochial tuition

Competition forces schools to focus on getting results. In my first year in office, we pushed legislation for a student scholarship program in New Orleans. The premise was simple: in New Orleans, we spend roughly $8,400 per child. If parents had a child in a failing public school in New Orleans, I proposed letting them take a maximum of 90% of those funds and use them to pay tuition at a participating private or parochial school. I called it a student scholarship program. It lets parents, and private an parochial schools, decide if they want to participate, and it has essentially no effect on the budget. Indeed, the average scholarship size has been much less: $4,593. Most importantly, this program targets those parents who need it most. In fact, the average income for the scholarship applications we received was $15,564.

Who in their right mind would oppose giving parents such a choice? The education establishment, of course--I was charged with attacking the public schools.

Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p. 70 , Nov 15, 2010

Tap faith-based groups to run charter schools

The New Orleans charter school system in not perfect. Initially, Louisiana law dictated that charter schools should not "be supported by or affiliated with and religion or religious organization or institution." This was unnecessarily restrictive, because federal laws already prevent publicly funded schools from engaging in religious discrimination or conducting religious instruction. But there is no reason why we shouldn't tap the expertise of churches and faith-based groups to help us reform and enhance our education system. As governor, I have worked to eliminate restrictions that have shut these groups out.

The key to success in charter schools is getting parents and the community involved, so we've tried to make parental involvement as easy as possible. We've also empowered teachers with a new law allowing a traditional school to become a charter school by a simple faculty vote

Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p. 74 , Nov 15, 2010

I favor whatever works, including vouchers & charters

While liberals hysterically claim school choice would destroy public education, their real concern is their fear of the teacher unions, which lose power to parents through school choice. Liberals also reflexively opposed any policy that might benefit religious schools.

Schools choice takes many forms--vouchers, tax credits, charters, student scholarships, and transfers to better public schools are a few. I favor whatever works, depending on the needs of the community. The successful methods we're using in New Orleans--charter schools and scholarship programs--could serve as a model for other cities looking to secure a good education for their poorest, most vulnerable kids. I'm for what works.

Communities with failing education systems nationwide need to act fast to expand school choice. Telling parents to wait to the failing school in their neighborhood to improve on its own is offensive and absurd.

Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p. 76-77 , Nov 15, 2010

Reinvented New Orleans with private/parochial scholarships

We need to make sure every child in America gets the best possible education. After Katrina, we reinvented the New Orleans school system, opening dozens of new charter schools, and creating a new scholarship program that is giving parents the chance to send their children to private or parochial schools of their choice. We believe that, with the proper education, the children of America can do anything. And it shouldn't take a devastating storm to bring this kind of innovation to education.
Source: GOP response to the 2009 State of the Union address , Feb 24, 2009

Increase completion rate above 6% for GED-OPTIONS program

Only 65% of high school students graduated on-time in the 06-07 school year, and about 14,000 to 17,000 drop out of school each year. This figure is disturbing. This is an incredibly large number of our sons and daughters that do not see a future for the in school. We have got to turn this trend around.

Almost 10,000 over-average-age middle school students opt out of high school and instead enroll into a pre-GED OPTIONS program each year...Yet only 6% of them end up getting a GED. This is not acceptable.

Next session, we will work to close these gaps in the system that too many of our children are slipping through by giving students multiple pathways to success and keeping them engaged in their education--which we all know is the ticket to their future.

Our initiatives will tie academic remediation and GED completion to workforce training opportunities so students complete their program with a useful skill that can directly help them get a job.

Source: 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 8, 2009

Performance-based funding for schools to meet industry needs

The current education funding formula lacks incentives for institutions to generate external research funding in sectors identified as economic development priorities. The proposed performance-based formula will address these needs in our current formula and better fit our higher education institutions to the real industry and business needs. This new funding formula will:Through this new, performance-based funding formula, higher education institutions will be rewarded for offering programs that meet real workforce demands
Source: 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 8, 2009

Too many of our campuses have buildings with leaking roofs

In addition to investing in our institutions of research, we must also invest in our institutions of higher education. Right now, too many of our campuses have buildings with leaking roofs and other deferred maintenance issues. We must commit more to our educational facilities. Ensuring they are places of learning and excellence, requires them to first be places of safety with fully operational equipment.
Source: Second Special Session Speech , Mar 9, 2008

Tax deductions for tuition & qualified educational expenses

We must also encourage more Louisianians to take advantage of our state’s many educational opportunities by providing a tuition deduction that will allow parents to keep more of their hard-earned money so they can invest in their child’s education. It is smart policy to allow families tax deductions for tuition and qualified educational expenses for their children.
Source: Second Special Session Speech , Mar 9, 2008

Voted NO on allowing Courts to decide on "God" in Pledge of Allegiance.

Amendment to preserve the authority of the US Supreme Court to decide any question pertaining to the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill underlying this amendment would disallow any federal courts from hearing cases concerning the Pledge of Allegiance. This amendment would make an exception for the Supreme Court.

Proponents support voting YES because:

I believe that our Pledge of Allegiance with its use of the phrase "under God" is entirely consistent with our Nation's cultural and historic traditions. I also believe that the Court holding that use of this phrase is unconstitutional is wrong. But this court-stripping bill is not necessary. This legislation would bar a Federal court, including the Supreme Court, from reviewing any claim that challenges the recitation of the Pledge on first amendment grounds.

If we are a Nation of laws, we must be committed to allowing courts to decide what the law is. This bill is unnecessary and probably unconstitutional. It would contradict the principle of Marbury v. Madison, intrude on the principles of separation of powers, and degrade our independent Federal judiciary.

Opponents support voting NO because:

I was disappointed 4 years ago when two judges of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that our Pledge, our statement of shared national values, was somehow unconstitutional. I do not take legislation that removes an issue from the jurisdiction of this court system lightly. This legislation is appropriate, however, because of the egregious conduct of the courts in dealing with the Pledge of Allegiance.

By striking "under God" from the Pledge, the Court has shown contempt for the Congress which approved the language, and, more importantly, shows a complete disregard for the millions of Americans who proudly recite the Pledge as a statement of our shared national values and aspirations. No one is required to recite the Pledge if they disagree with its message.

Reference: Watt amendment to Pledge Protection Act; Bill H R 2389 ; vote number 2006-384 on Jul 19, 2006

Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges.

This vote is on a substitute bill (which means an amendment which replaces the entire text of the original bill). Voting YES means support for the key differences from the original bill: lowering student loan interest rates; $59 million for a new Predominantly Black Serving Institution program; $25 million for a new graduate Hispanic Serving Institution program; provide for year- round Pell grants; and repeal the Single Lender rule. The substitute's proponents say:
  • The original bill has some critical shortcomings. First and foremost, this substitute will cut the new Pell Grant fixed interest rate in half from 6.8% to 3.4%, to reduce college costs to those students most in need.
  • It would also establish a new predominantly black-serving institutions programs to boost college participation rates for low-income black students, and a new graduate Hispanic-serving institution program.
  • As we saw from 1995 to 2000, the questions employers were asking was not your race, not your ethnicity, not your religion, they wanted to know if you had the skills and talents to do the job. Most often today, those skills and that talent requires a higher education. A college education is going to have to become as common as a high school education.
    Reference: Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act; Bill HR 609 Amendment 772 ; vote number 2006-080 on Mar 30, 2006

    Other governors on Education: Bobby Jindal on other issues:

    LA Senatorial:
    Bill Cassidy
    David Vitter
    Mary Landrieu
    Rob Maness

    Gubernatorial Debates 2015:
    KY: Conway(D) vs.Bevin(R)
    LA: Vitter(R) vs.Dardenne(R) vs.Edwards(D)
    MS: Bryant(R) vs.Slater(D)
    Gubernatorial Debates 2016:
    DE: Bonini(D) vs.Carney(R)
    IN: Pence(R) vs.Gregg(D)
    MO: Hanaway(R) vs.Brunner(R)
    MT: Bullock(D) vs.Perea(R)
    NC: McCrory(R) vs.Cooper(D) vs.Spaulding(D)
    ND: Dalrymple(R) vs.Heitkamp(D) vs.Pomeroy(D)
    NH: Hassan(D) vs.Bradley(R)
    OR: Brown(D)
    UT: Herbert(R) vs.Matheson(D)
    VT: Shumlin(D)
    WA: Inslee(D) vs.Bryant(R)
    WV: Kessler(R) vs.Cole(D)
    Newly-elected governors (first seated in Jan. 2015):
    AK-I: Bill Walker
    AR-R: Asa Hutchinson
    AZ-R: Doug Ducey
    IL-R: Bruce Rauner
    MA-R: Charlie Baker
    MD-R: Larry Hogan
    NE-R: Pete Ricketts
    OR-D: Kate Brown
    PA-D: Tom Wolf
    RI-D: Gina Raimondo
    TX-R: Greg Abbott

    Lame ducks 2015-16:
    DE-D: Jack Markell
    (term-limited 2016)
    KY-D: Steve Beshear
    (term-limited 2015)
    LA-R: Bobby Jindal
    (term-limited 2015)
    MO-D: Jay Nixon
    (term-limited 2016)
    VT-D: Peter Shumlin
    (retiring 2016)
    WV-D: Earl Ray Tomblin
    (term-limited 2016)
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    Page last updated: Jun 28, 2015