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Gov. Jindal sets July 17 meeting with Louisiana education superintendent, to discuss testing


BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Gov. Bobby Jindal has scheduled a July 17 meeting with Education Superintendent John White to try to negotiate a compromise in their dispute over testing tied to the Common Core education standards, the governor's office announced Wednesday.

White was directed by the state education board last week to seek a meeting with the governor, and Jindal's office said the governor had agreed.

But a sit-down between Jindal and White wasn't set until The Associated Press asked for two days about the meeting date and time. Jindal spokesman Mike Reed announced next week's meeting plan an hour after the Department of Education said no meeting was scheduled.

Jindal suspended a contract that White intended to use to buy testing material aligned with Common Core, as a way to derail use of standards the governor opposes. The Jindal administration said White's department violated state procurement laws in moving to the Common Core-tied standardized tests without seeking competitive bids for the contract.

Despite Jindal's opposition, lawmakers and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education have voted to maintain Common Core in public school classrooms. White and BESE President Chas Roemer say Jindal has overstepped his legal authority and they intend to continue with Common Core.

The disagreement has stalled testing plans for the upcoming school year.

The governor's office scheduled the sit-down between Jindal and White one day before the superintendent was asked to report back to BESE about his efforts to meet with Jindal. Meanwhile, the education board is moving ahead with plans to hire contract lawyers for a possible lawsuit against the governor if no agreement can be reached.

The Common Core standards have been adopted by more than 40 states. The grade-by-grade English and math benchmarks are supposed to be fully phased into Louisiana's classrooms and testing by the upcoming year.

Supporters of Common Core say the standards promote critical thinking and raise expectations for students. Jindal says the federal government is trying to use Common Core to control local curriculum and educational systems.

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