Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) are locked in a legal duel over the future of Common Core. Jindal, rightfully, opposes it. The BESE, seeing themselves as the actual government of Louisiana and intoxicated by the vague scent of federal cash, is pushing ahead. Rather than waiting for the case to perk its way through the courts and possibly see Common Core entrenched in the state, Jindal has asked for an injunction to keep the BESE from proceeding with implementing Common Core while the lawsuits are pending.
In the latest salvo in the ongoing fight over Louisiana’s use of the Common Core education standards, Gov. Bobby Jindal has amended his lawsuit and is now seeking a court injunction to immediately stop the state from using the tests tied to Common Core.
The governor’s office said in a release that the injunction is needed “because of the imminent risk of irreparable harm created by the unlawful exercise of federal control of education in Louisiana.”
The injunction would bar the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from implementing any assessment program developed by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as PARCC.
Louisiana students were set to take the PARCC test starting this upcoming school year, but educators have been in limbo since Jindal publicly began trying to get Louisiana out of the test this summer — over the objections of state Superintendent John White and other state education officials.
You can read the injunction request here.
The injunction has a familiar ring to it. In the case National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sebelius, the Supreme Court found that withholding Medicaid funds from states that did not agree to expand Medicaid coverage was coercive. Here Jindal argues, in part, that the process of awarding federal funds to states was weighted in a way that punished states that did not participate in Common Core. Via Politico:
“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.,” Jindal said. “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 instruction and 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’s argument isn’t new, but it may be the first time it’s been made in court. Education historian Diane Ravitch has questioned whether the Common Core is legal, saying the Education Department used billions in federal grants through Race to the Top and waivers from No Child Left Behind encouraging states to adopt the standards.
“The role of the federal government in offering money to states to adopt the standards may well have been illegal,” Ravitch wrote last November. “Secretary [Arne] Duncan’s fervent advocacy for the standards at every opportunity may well be illegal. His denunciation and ridiculing of critics of the standards as Tea Party extremists belies his insistence that the federal government had nothing to do with the Common Core standards. If he had nothing to do with them, why is he their number one salesman? Why does he so stridently belittle their critics and mischaracterize their motives?”
The more states know about Common Core the more problematic its fate. If Jindal succeeds in his lawsuit he will join Indiana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and other states that either have abandoned Common Core or are in the process of doing so.