Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who made headlines in 2013 at the Republican National Committee’s Winter Meeting by telling attendees that Republicans “must stop being the stupid party” has an unusual way of putting theory into practice.
Jindal faces an insurmountable problem: himself. We have been witness to a long litany of Bobby mishaps, from defending racism to accusing our first black president, of all people, of waging war on civil rights, to making a fool of himself at a White House meeting, to attacking MoveOn.org for telling the truth about his policies, to signing anti-choice legislation in a church of all places, making plain before everyone that his opposition to women’s health is sectarian.
Unable to be smarter himself, he has cooked up another scheme. Rather than make the GOP smarter, his plan seems to be to dumb down the populace instead.
As Media Matters relates,
On June 18, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Jindal announced plans “to try and roll back Louisiana” from the Common Core State Standards, a set of education standards adopted in 2010 by 45 states and the District of Columbia. Recent “political turbulence,” fueled by misplaced conservative media outrage, has led a few states to withdraw from Common Core.
According to the Times-Picayune, Jindal’s announcement “left the state’s public education system in confusion, with no active contract to buy standardized tests for the school year that starts in August.”
Because having no education standards is going to make kids “more smarter” in Tea Party lingo. As Pink Floyd said, “Teacher, leave those kids alone!” Or as the Tea Party would say, “leave them kids alone.”
Only the Republican Party could be dumb enough to cut education funding and then blame Common Core for the problems our students and teachers are facing. Which sort of proves Jindal’s 2013 point. It’s just a shame Jindal himself didn’t catch on.
Jindal says Common Core is a federal plot to takeover education, as though the Founding Fathers didn’t support the public funding of education.
Thomas Jefferson, in fact, predicated the modern Republican Party:
[T]he tax which will be paid for this purpose [education] is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.
What Jindal wants – and sorry, I just shuddered thinking about this – “Louisiana standards and a Louisiana test” to replace Common Core.
Here’s the funny thing. The Times-Picayune reports that,
The Common Core academic standards were written under the auspices of the National Governors Association, which includes Jindal, and Council of Chief State School Officers, which includes White. They lay out what students are supposed to learn each year in mathematics and English.
I know, right? Don’t even say it. Save your breath.
Not everybody in Louisiana is as dumb as Jindal, fortunately, and Media Matters goes on to report,
The Times-Picayune noted that the Louisiana legislature, the state school board, and “almost all other high-ranking state education officials” have said they want to keep Common Core. It also reported that while Jindal may be able to block the standardized test, developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), Jindal himself acknowledged he can’t unilaterally abandon Common Core.
Nevertheless, conservative media outlets, many of whom have been leading the anti-Common Core rage machine, deceptively spun Jindal’s announcement as “withdrawing” Louisiana from the standards. The Washington Times, for example, ran a headline that read, “Bobby Jindal pulls Louisiana out of Common Core.” A post at Erick Erickson’s RedState.com also claimed that Jindal was “pull[ing] Louisiana out of Common Core,” while Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy posted “Jindal withdraws La. from Common Core standards.”
Oh dear. Well, there is a lot of dumb going around and let’s face it, nobody on the right – Jindal included – really paid attention to his cry that Republicans stop being the stupid party. The articles you find at PoliticusUSA daily represent only a fraction of continued Republican stupidity. Literally, these posts are a drop in the bucket.
The Republican base seems determined to believe that they are enacting the Founding Fathers’ will, but the Founding Fathers believed money spent on public education – not homeschooling or “charter schools” – was money well spent, and they well understood the consequences of being miserly, as the Jefferson quote above shows.
John Adams wrote, “[E]ducation of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.”
Human and generous mind. Well, that leaves out the Tea Party and most of the Republican Party.
But it is to Benjamin Franklin Bobby Jindal ought to be listening: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
Dumb ’em down, Bobby. A Yankee agent provocateur could not do a better job preventing the South from rising again.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.