Here’s a follow-up on a recent post about the Louisiana governor’s race: Republican U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal did, indeed, capture a majority of votes during Saturday’s primary, catapulting him to the governor’s office in January without having to go through a run-off in November. Read the New York Times story here. He becomes the first Indian-American to become the state’s CEO, and will be the nation’s youngest governor, at age 36. He will replace Democrat Kathleen Blanco, who decided not to seek re-election.
While I pointed you to Jindal’s education proposals in an earlier post, it’s also worth noting that his conservative beliefs come through when it comes to teaching evolution—he has suggested that “intelligent design” could also be taught in class as an alternative to evolution. Unlike some of his opponents in the race, he also believes in keeping in place the state’s testing system, which seeks to end social promotion by requiring students to pass tests before advancing grade levels.
It will also be worth watching to see what Jindal does with Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek, whose term expires in January. Pastorek has been very supportive of the rebuilding in the New Orleans school district, which is being chronicled by my colleague Lesli Maxwell and other members of the Education Week staff in the series you can read here. In Louisiana, the superintendent is recommended by the governor and approved by the 11-member state board, which comprises eight elected members and three appointed by the governor.
Regardless of Jindal’s education platform, the national GOP is looking at the big picture. Jindal’s win gives Republicans control of one more governor’s office at a time that is proving very difficult for the party nationally. If Republicans hold on to the other two governors’ seats that are up next month -- in Kentucky and Mississippi -- then the GOP will be going into the 2008 election year with 23 governors, to Democrats’ 27.