Bobby Jindal on Education

Republican Governor; previously Representative (LA-1)


Dollars follow the child; parents decide

Q: Should for-profit schools be held accountable when they take taxpayer money & leave students deep in debt?

JINDAL: They should be accountable to their students through the market. For some reason, the private sector is a bad word to this president. It's not in the real world. In Louisiana, we fought so that the dollars follow the child and so the child following the dollar. What that means, from K-12, what that means is that parents and their families can decide what's the best way for their children to be educated. You either trust the American people or you don't. I know the Left doesn't. That's why you get ObamaCare. That's why you get Common Core, they want to take away our gun rights under the Second Amendment. They want to take away our religious liberty rights. So, yes, there's accountability. There's accountability to students through choice and competition. We don't need the nanny state to protect us from ourselves.

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 2nd-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

TOPS program: free tuition for good college grades

Q: You've been a strong supporter of for-profit colleges. Should for-profit schools be held accountable when they take taxpayer money and leave students deep in debt?

JINDAL: Absolutely they should be accountable. They should be accountable to their students through the market. Look, you either trust the American people to make their own choices or you don't. I know the Left thinks we need to be protected from ourselves. President Obama is trying to limit competition to the higher education market. In Louisiana, we have a TOPS program, where we will help if a student maintains a 2.5 GPA, we'll pay for their tuition. They can take those dollars for private school of their choice in the state as well.

[OnTheIssues note; TOPS, the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, is a program of state scholarships for Louisiana residents who attend public colleges or technical schools. The TOPS Program includes: TOPS Opportunity Awards, TOPS Performance Awards, TOPS Honors Awards, and TOPS Tech Awards.]

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 2nd-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Let parents decide on traditional school or virtual school

Source: Fordham Institute EduWatch 2016 by Brandon White , Jul 7, 2015

If it's not about student achievement, what's it about?

Everybody says they're for great teachers, but to be honest look at how we hire, fire, pay and promote our teachers today. So in Louisiana we decided to do something about that. We said "wouldn't it be special, wouldn't it be great if we actually hired, fired and promoted and compensated our teachers based on how well students are doing rather than simply how long teachers have been breathing in the classroom?"

We've radically changed our tenure laws, our hiring laws, our firing laws, our compensation laws to link teacher advancement to student achievement. Unions didn't like that. They said we don't have any problem with you evaluating teachers; we just don't want it to be tied so closely to student achievement. It's like going to a football game and saying: don't worry about the score at the end of the game. If it's not about student achievement, what's it about?

Source: Forbes Magazine on 2014 CPAC convention , Jun 24, 2015

Money follows the child, instead of child following money

Jindal said at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in March 2014, "We said we've got to make the dollars follow the child instead of forcing the child to follow the dollar. Now what does that mean? That means that every child learns differently. Some children will do great in a public school, some children will do great in an online program, some children will do great in charter schools, parochial schools, dual-enrollment programs, but we trust parents to make the best decisions for their children. In New Orleans, 90% of our kids are in charter schools. We have doubled the percentage of kids doing reading and math on grade level in just five years. We've done course choice, we've done course choice so kids can start in public schools and take private courses throughout the day, but we've also established a statewide scholarship program so kids can go to the best schools selected by their parents. Now the unions didn't like this either."
Source: Forbes Magazine "2016 Candidates Want You to Know" series , Jun 24, 2015

Shrink Dept. of Education, and reduce its power

Jindal said at the Republican Leadership Summit, in April 2015, "I think we need to return the federal department of education back to its original intended purpose. It needs to be shrunken in size, in funding, in power. And it needs to focus on deregulation, transparency and true civil rights, true civil rights enforcement."
Source: Forbes Magazine "2016 Candidates Want You to Know" series , Jun 24, 2015

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

Voucher program for New Orleans over legislature objections

PHILANTHROPY: What works at the grassroots level for school vouchers?

DEVOS: I don't want to get too deep into the weeds, but here's an episode that may be revealing. Back in 2008, in Louisiana, the state's Department of Education was clearly opposed to implementing the new pilot voucher program that had been created by Gov. Jindal and a bipartisan coalition of legislators to help children trapped in failing schools in New Orleans. The department at that time seemed to put up as many roadblocks as possible. They gave parents one week--one week!--to sign up for the program. We had to work fast to come up with creative ways to alert parents of the new program. We did everything we could to engage and inform parents about the voucher opportunity. We bought ad time on urban radio stations. We bought billboards and web ads, did mailings and phone calls. We worked with various parish churches. It was all grassroots work. It can look like tedious work, but we got 5,000 children enrolled.

Source: Philanthropy magazine interview of Betsy DeVos , Apr 1, 2013

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 Gubernatorial:
    Charles Boustany
    Eddie Rispone
    John Bel Edwards
    John Neely Kennedy
    Ralph Abraham
    LA Senatorial:
    Antoine Pierce
    Bill Cassidy
    Charles Boustany
    Foster Campbell
    John Fleming
    John Neely Kennedy
    Joseph Cao
    Rob Maness
    Thomas Clements

    Gubernatorial Debates 2019:
    Bevin(R) vs.Goforth(R,lost primary) vs.Adkins(D,lost primary) vs.Beshear(D) vs.Edelen(D,lost primary)
    Edwards(D) vs.Rispone(R) vs.Abraham(R) vs.Kennedy(R,declined)
    Bryant(R,retiring) vs.Foster(R) vs.Hood(D) vs.Reeves(R) vs.Waller(R)

    Gubernatorial Debates 2021:
    Murphy(D) vs.Ciattarelli(R)
    Northam(D,term-limited) vs.Herring(D)

    Gubernatorial Debates 2020:
    DE: vs.Carney(incumbent) vs.Williams(D)
    IN: vs.Holcomb(incumbent) vs.Melton(D) vs.Woody Myers(D)
    MO: Parson(incumbent) vs.Nicole Galloway(D) vs.Jim Neely(R)
    MT: Bullock(retiring) vs.Fox(R) vs.Perry(R) vs.Gianforte(R) vs.Stapleton(R) vs.Olszewski(R) vs.Neill(D) vs.Schreiner(D) vs.Cooney(D) vs.Williams(D)
    NC: Cooper(incumbent) vs.Forest(R) vs.Holly Grange(R)
    ND: Burgum(incumbent) vs.Michael Coachman(R)
    NH: Sununu(incumbent) vs.Volinksy(D) vs.Dan Feltes(D)
    PR: Rossello(D;resigned) vs.Wanda Vazquez Garced(D)
    UT: Herbert(retiring) vs.Huntsman(R) vs.Cox(R) vs.Jeff Burningham(R)
    VT: Scott(incumbent) vs.Rebecca Holcombe(D) vs.Zuckerman(D)
    WA: Inslee(incumbent) vs.Bryant(R) vs.Fortunato(R)
    WV: Justice(incumbent) vs.Folk(R) vs.Thrasher(R) vs.Vanover(D) vs.Smith(D) vs.Ron Stollings(D)
    Civil Rights
    Foreign Policy
    Free Trade
    Govt. Reform
    Gun Control
    Health Care
    Homeland Security
    Local Issues
    Social Security
    Tax Reform

    Contact info:
    Email Contact Form
    Fax number:

    Page last updated: Apr 15, 2020