Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education bill struck down

One of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) signature reforms -- on education -- has been struck down by a judge in Baton Rouge.

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

The judge had previously upheld three sections of the act, but reversed his ruling after agreeing to review the case at the request of both sides.

Judge Michael Caldwell of the 19th Judicial District Court of Baton Rouge reversed the ruling he made in December that upheld changes to teacher tenure, pay for performance and evaluation and school board control over local schools.

Caldwell previously ruled that one section of the law dealing with local superintendent involvement with school board decisions was unconstitutional. On Monday, he made clear that, after reviewing the case, all four sections were in fact unconstitutional.

Caldwell agreed with the Louisiana Federation of Teachers that he had misread part of the legislation before his previous ruling. He then said the entirety of the law must be declared unconstitutional because it violates the "single object" section of the state Constitution, which says any bill brought before the Legislature must contain only one "aim or purpose of enactment."

Jindal said in a statement that he will continue to push for the reforms and hopes the state Supreme Court will reverse the judge's ruling.


Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R). (Gerald Herbert / AP)

“While the ruling does not judge the substance of the law, we're disappointed that the court reversed its original ruling," Jindal said. “When we embarked on this path of reform, we knew this would not be an easy fight because the coalition of the status quo is entrenched and has worked to hold Louisiana teachers and students back for decades."

If the higher court doesn't uphold the bill, Jindal may push for the reforms in other ways, said top adviser Timmy Teepell.

"Depending on what the higher courts do, we may need to look at additional legislation or administrative action," Teepell told Post Politics. "But there's no escaping the fact that every kid deserves a good teacher, and we are going to work to make that a reality.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Educators, the state's top two teachers unions, have fought against Jindal's reforms.

It's not the first time Jindal's education reforms have been dealt a setback. A different Baton Rouge judge in December ruled against Jindal's school voucher plan. That is also being appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Jindal is currently facing some tough times in his home state, having seen his approval rating drop significantly -- apparently owing in part to his decision to opt out of the federal Medicaid expansion that has split Republican governors and is popular in Louisiana. He is considered a top contender for the GOP's 2016 presidential nomination.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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