After going back and forth for five days with the state superintendent of education, Governor Bobby Jindal's staff say he will support a federal grant worth 15 million dollars. The money will give young children the opportunity to go to preschool or attend an early childhood development center.
Jindal's Deputy Communications Director Shannon Bates sent the following statement:
"We appreciate the John's patience and his willingness to take the time to respond to our concerns. He has made it clear that this grant will not fund Common Core standards and the programs funded will not be impacted by a future removal of Common Core standards from our K-12 system, so we will support the grant application."
Since Thursday, letters have gone back and forth between Jindal and John White. The issue, Jindal wanted clarification on whether the funding was tied to Common Core standards.
In his initial letter, Jindal wrote, "I want to confirm that dollars obtained through the Preschool Development Grants would not be used to fund the continued use of Common Core in Early Childhood programs."
White responded back to that letter, saying in part, "Early learning standards are not applicable to Common Core state standards."
White says this money would mean, over several years, 5,000 young children in the state who come from low-income families would have the opportunity to get a seat in a pre-K or early childhood development center. White says that translates to about 700-800 students a year.
Those students would learn skills, he says, that would prepare them for Kindergarten. Thing like recognizing letters and learning to count.
The grant would provide a boost to the state, White said, because the state does not have the money to fund all those seats and make them available.
In one letter sent to White, Jindal writes, "You used a lot of words, but did not answer our question. We are looking for a simple yes or no answer, will this grant funding be used on Common Core?"
In an interview Monday, White told us, "It's not tied to Common Core, it's tied to kindergarten readiness. Whether that's a Common Core kindergarten or not."
The deadline for the state to apply for the 15 million dollar grant is Tuesday.