Amid Heated Debate, Louisiana Lawmakers File Lawsuit to Suspend Common Core Standards
Lawmakers in Louisiana filed a lawsuit Monday in Baton Rouge district court that seeks an immediate suspension of the Common Core standards in the state’s schools.
According to the Associated Press, the 17 legislators – 13 Republicans and 2 Democrats – argue in the suit that state education leaders failed to properly enact the controversial standards that have been the focus of a heated debate between Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and John White, state superintendent.
The lawsuit claims Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the state education department failed to follow the state’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA) for implementing the Common Core standards.
The APA requires public notice, a 90-day comment period, and legislative oversight be provided prior to changes made to education standards in the state, but the lawmakers say these requirements were not met in the case of the Common Core standards.
“Unless an injunction issues herein by the Court, needless time and resources will be expended in the teaching, testing, learning, and financing of Common Core, all to the detriment of the citizens of Louisiana,” the lawsuit states.
BESE President Chas Roemer and Education Superintendent John White have planned a conference call to address the lawsuit’s claims.
“There are many statutes in Louisiana that require the use of the Administrative Procedures Act to implement a new rule,” Louisiana state Rep. Brett Geymann (R), one of the lawmakers who filed the lawsuit, told Breitbart News. “The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Education are not exempt from the APA and did not follow the law in implementing Common Core; therefore, they denied the public the opportunity to be a part of the process.”
“We are hopeful the court will rule Common Core invalid and we can move forward with developing our own standards with local control,” Geymann added.
Jindal, like other governors and lawmakers, once approved of the standards, but as more light has been shed on the federal government’s involvement in pushing the Common Core standards onto the states, many are now distancing themselves in one form or another from the unpopular nationalized initiative.
On Monday, The Advocate observed that the Louisiana Common Core debate had “mushroomed into the biggest education fight” in the state, according to veteran education officials.
In June, Jindal issued executive orders to remove his state from the controversial Common Core standards and the assessments tied to them. He based this move on the argument that the decision by the Louisiana Department of Education to sign onto the PARCC Common Core test consortium was unlawful because it bypassed the state’s procurement law which requires an open bidding process.
In response, BESE voted to hire legal counsel to challenge the Governor’s executive orders, claiming his actions were illegal and defiantly asserting that Louisiana “will implement the Common Core State Standards, as well as … PARCC for the 2014-2015 school year.”
Meetings between Jindal and White have failed to produce any terms of agreement in what appears to be a battle of unprecedented intensity.
The rancorous dispute once again underscores the national debate sparked by the controversial Common Core standards regarding the power of the federal government and its often allied state boards of education over the elected representatives of the people, local school districts, and parents.
Sara Wood, an attorney and parent who has been involved in organizing a grassroots group against the Common Core, said she believes White needs to be removed immediately as state superintendent.
“The longer BESE continues on this Common Core/PARCC path as a Board, it will continue to erode any trust in the ability of this Board to direct education in Louisiana and will bring more havoc to [the] lives of children, parents and teachers,” Wood said in an email statement. “After the July 1st meeting, it is undeniable that as a Board, BESE has no interest in protecting children, but it is only driven to protect its interests and agenda.”
“With every action of the BESE majority, it is creating a clear perception of its indignant presumption that it is above the law and the principal actors have no shame in acting in that manner,” Wood continued. “In continuing to ignore parents and teachers and to defy the laws and leader of our state - Governor Jindal, and by refusing to do a proper RFP for the assessments, these principal actors are only digging a deeper hole for themselves and destroying the public perception and credibility of BESE.”