Bobby Jindal: Common Core 'PARCC Is a Federal Agent for Co-Opting Our Schools' Curriculum'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) office announced Wednesday that it had filed an amended petition that argues the state’s agreement with the PARCC Common Core test consortium is in violation of federal law because it attempts to federalize education curriculum through control over student testing and instruction. The petition could pave the way for similar lawsuits in other states attempting to exit the controversial standards.

According to a statement from the Governor’s office, the petition demonstrates that the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education (BESE) never formally approved the state’s participation in PARCC. Jindal’s office is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop BESE’s use of the PARCC resources until the court rules on the matter.

Jindal said, “Common Core began as an effort to simply raise standards for students, but it has morphed into a scheme to drive education curriculum from Washington, D.C.” He added, “Congress drew a bright red line that can’t be crossed and it clearly bars the federal government from ‘directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum programs of instructional material.’”

“Implementing PARCC in Louisiana crosses the line because what’s tested is what’s taught. PARCC is a federal agent for co-opting our school’s curriculum,” Jindal asserted.

The Governor countered Common Core supporters who continually claim that the initiative is only a set of standards, and not curriculum which can be decided locally.

“Indeed, Common Core and PARCC supporters are now arguing that without a test in place for the upcoming school year, teachers don’t know what to teach,” Jindal observed. “If Common Core is just about standards, though, then why would the Superintendent and BESE President be worried about one test? The answer is because it’s about curriculum. Tests drive curriculum for the school year.”

The existing claim in the lawsuit argues that the PARCC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) unlawfully delegates BESE’s authority to the PARCC Governing Board. The amended petition states the PARCC agreement violates federal law since federal law prohibits the federal government from directing or controlling education curriculum.

“The Race to the Top Program,” states the amended petition, “effectively co-opted Common Core for the federal government, attempting to accomplish indirectly through economic coercion that which the federal government is prohibited from accomplishing directly.”

PARCC and SBAC – the two multi-state test consortia that are developing assessments aligned with the Common Core standards – were both funded largely by the federal government.

“Simply put, PARCC is the implementation platform for a carefully orchestrated federal scheme to supervise, direct and control educational curriculum, programs of instruction and instructional materials in direct violation of federal law,” reads the petition. “And the scheme is being perpetrated on the pretext of higher standards promised by Common Core.”


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