“I’m not a communist.”
But Senator Conrad Appel isn’t a happy camper, either. He took to the floor of the Senate Thursday to deliver a tirade directed toward Governor Bobby Jindal.
“You can call me a communist. You can call me a socialist fascist—that’s a good one,” Appel declared forcefully. “Anything you want to call me? Do it!”
Appel was responding to a written statement from the governor, given in response to reporters’ questions about a letter Jindal received from 33 House members. The representatives were urging Governor Jindal to remove Louisiana from Common Core—by executive order.
Jindal’s statement reads: “Every day, concern among parents is growing over Common Core. The feds are taking over and rushing this. Let’s face it: centralized planning didn't work in Russia, it's not working with our health care system and it won't work in education.”
Senator Appel, who heads the Senate Education Committee, took particular issue with the reference to Russia.
“Now I’m a communist sympathizer?” Appel asked, heatedly. “The inferences that have been made against us are absolutely abominable!”
Appel “carried the water” for Jindal’s 2012 education overhaul, and has done his best to stave off bills seeking to undo the changes. Now he’s feeling betrayed by the governor’s backpedaling on Common Core, and Appel gave fair warning that he is not crawfishing on the issue.
“We’re going to do what’s right for the children of Louisiana, so that we can get this state not only into the 21st Century, but into the top!” Appel declared.
All the bills filed to kill Common Core or its testing component PARCC are dead for this session.
On the other hand the chasm between the governor’s hand-picked education leaders and Jindal’s nationally targeted political rhetoric is very much alive—and growing.