December 8, 2021

Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoes Common Core bill passed by the Louisiana Legislature

Gov. Bobby Jindal on Friday vetoed a bill that many had seen as an endorsement of the Common Core academic standards. The governor has recently said he wants to scrap the educational benchmarks and its associated testing in Louisiana, though Common Core advocates doubt he has the authority to do so, now that the Legislature has declined to help.

“The bill sacrifices the important education reforms supported by this Legislature in 2010 and 2012 in order to implement a set of national standards and tests that take away local control and standardize our education system,” Jindal wrote in his explanation of vetoing House Bill 953.

Common Core lays out what students are supposed to learn each year in mathematics and English. Louisiana and most other states adopted the standards a few years ago, but a few states are backing off amid a recent conservative backlash.

The legislation was seen as a compromise on Common Core and an effort make sure Louisiana kept the educational benchmarks overall. Its sponsor, Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, is a Common Core supporter.

Common Core proponents were concerned that lawmakers wary of the penalties associated with Common Core testing might vote with more strident anti-Common Core legislators to repeal the standards. So Leger’s bill was designed to delay any effect of the Common Core-related test, to address the concerns of lawmakers who were on the fence. Teachers and schools would have had three years get used to the test before they would be penalized for poor scores. The state school board currently has given them a two-year reprieve.

But Leger’s bill also affirmed Louisiana should use nationally recognized academic standards. The anti-Common Core movement in the Legislature found this troubling.

“It locks us into a national curriculum and a national test,” said Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Jeffersone, objecting to the legislation as a member of the state House Education Committee.

In his veto, Jindal noted that there also was opposition from Common Core proponents to the legislation. A few high-profile business groups, for example, submitted “red cards” — which indicate opposition — on Leger’s bill when it came up for hearings in legislative committees this spring.

“The opposition to this bill has come from both sides of the Common Core issue,” Jindal wrote.

Business leaders weren’t happy about the accountability delay in Leger’s bill. But they also didn’t push lawmakers particularly hard to reject the legislation. The anti-Common Core movement was far more vocal about its concerns.

Lawmakers who supported Common Core generally voted for the bill. Those who were fighting to repeal Common Core generally voted against it.

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Julia O’Donoghue is a state politics reporter based in Baton Rouge. She can be reached at, 225-436-2442 or on Twitter at @jsodonoghue. Please consider following us on Facebook at and Rouge.