By guest blogger Andrew Ujifusa. Crossposted from State Ed Watch.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana, announced in an email that he now opposes the Common Core State Standards, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Monday, roughly four months after he publicly praised the standards.
Vitter announced plans to run for Louisiana governor last January, but he detailed his support for the common standards in August, when he called them “strong, significant, and positive.”
So what’s changed? The senator doesn’t point to specific policy changes affecting the standards over the last few months that have alarmed him. But on his website, Vitter says that conversations with parents, teachers, and others in the state have helped changed his mind.
In addition to representing an inappropriate level of federal involvement in public schools, Vitter says, the common core is also “causing deep frustration and worse in many classrooms and homes” by hampering teachers and keeping students from learning effectively.
He also says the common core is being used by an “entrenched few” to “weaken or reverse” K-12 accountability measures in the state. Vitter doesn’t identify these “entrenched few.” The common core and the associated tests underlie the state’s accountability system announced by state Superintendent John White roughly a year ago.
Vitter pledges that, as governor, he will ditch the common core and the test from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, and direct a new commission to develop standards and tests for Louisiana.
He also posted this message on his Facebook page on Dec. 1:
Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, also shifted his position from supporting to opposing the common core during the last year, and is now one of the most high-profile opponents of the standards.
The gubernatorial election to replace Jindal, who can’t run again in 2015 because of term limits, will take place next year.