Last Modified: Thursday, August 07, 2014 8:31 AM
BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal asked a judge Wednesday to prohibit state education leaders from using testing material tied to the Common Core standards in Louisiana’s public school classrooms.
Jindal filed a petition seeking an injunction that would keep the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the education department from administering any standardized tests developed through a testing consortium aligned with Common Core.
The injunction request, filed in district court, is part of the Republican governor’s countersuit, after he was sued by parents and teachers who support Common Core and who accuse Jindal of violating the state constitution in actions he’s taken against the standards.
Jindal argues that Louisiana’s agreement with the testing consortium called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, is an attempt to federalize education in the state. His lawyer, Jimmy Faircloth, says that violates federal laws that prohibit such micromanagement.
“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. ... PARCC is a federal agent for co-opting our school’s curriculum,” Jindal said in a statement.
In the new court filing, the governor wants to have the state barred from using tests or test questions developed through PARCC, along with the invalidation of Louisiana’s participation in the consortium.
Common Core is a set of English and math standards that have been adopted by more than 40 states, describing what students should know after completing each grade.
Supporters say the standards will better prepare students for college and careers. Critics say the standards are untested and damage state autonomy.
Jindal once supported the multistate standards, but now opposes them as an Obama administration effort to meddle in state education policy.
However, a majority of members of the state education board, known as BESE, support Common Core, along with Education Superintendent John White. State lawmakers also refused to end Louisiana’s use of the standards earlier this year.
BESE has joined the lawsuit accusing Jindal of violating the Louisiana Constitution in his actions against Common Core. Board President Chas Roemer said Jindal’s actions are designed to bolster the governor’s likely 2016 presidential campaign, rather than to improve education.
The governor agreed to Louisiana’s participation in PARCC and signed the consortium agreement in 2010, but he has since changed his mind. Now, he’s arguing the agreement violates state sovereignty by having a private, non-Louisiana entity set education policy.
“PARCC is the implementation platform for a carefully orchestrated federal scheme to supervise, direct and control educational curriculum, programs of instruction and instructional material in direct violation of federal law,” Faircloth writes in the injunction request.
Jindal’s also taken executive action against the testing material, suspending contracts to keep the state education department from using consortium-developed questions in standardized tests this year. He’s accused BESE and the department of not following state procurement law.
The action has stalled testing plans for third through eighth grades.