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Jindal Calls Common Core a Federal Takeover in New Filing

Bobby Jindal is going national with his lawsuit against Common Core. In a new filing issued Wednesday, the Louisiana governor takes his effort to get the education standards out of Louisiana a step further, asking a judge to ban the use of Common Core in the state. Instead of simply violating state procurement law, Jindal now argues that the state's contract to administer the exam that tests students on Common Core curriculum amounts to a federal takeover of education.


In the filing, the gov argues that the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education's (BESE) contract to administer the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests at the end of the 2014-15 school year and beyond violates a federal law that leaves education curriculum to the states. Through incentives like Race to the Top, the feds gained support for Common Core through "economic coercion," then co-opted the standards, the filing states.


“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. And the scheme is being perpetrated on the pretext of higher standards promised by Common Core," the filing states.


The filing seeks an injunction that would immediately stop the use of PARCC in Louisiana.


The Common Core standards were developed to establish comparable math and English curriculum across states, and was embraced by 44 states and D.C. But the more rigorous standards have drawn criticism on grounds like Jindal's argument, and that they are too difficult to implement immediately.


Politico noted that Jindal's filing may be the first time such an argument was made in court.


Jindal, who is always happy to be rumored as a 2016 presidential hopeful, stuck to more technical merits in his initial lawsuit aimed at driving out Common Core last week, alleging that the PARCC contract was a violation of state procurement law. Jindal's lawyers also argued that by giving the PARCC tests, BESE was effectively delegating its authority to set education policy to an outside party.


The governor's latest views jive more closely with his recent political comments. Though he was initially in favor of Common Core and sat by as the state helped develop the standards, Jindal came out swinging against the standards at this year's national Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.


"I'm for standards and I'm for our kids learning and our kids being able to compete. But it seems to me that there is something fundamentally wrong when the bureaucrats, when the federal government especially, thinks they know best and they don't need to listen to parents, he said in the May 30 speech.


When a group of legislators couldn't pass a bill to oust Common Core and the PARCC tests during this year's session at the Capitol, Jindal acted on his own, via executive authority, to rescind the contract between PARCC and the state.


BESE and State Education Superintendent John White (a Jindal appointee) fought back, refusing to go along with the orders. BESE President Chas Roemer proposed a pair of compromises that would have nixed PARCC for this year, but allowed the state to keep some of the PARCC questions in its own standardized tests. Jindal refused to go along with the deals, citing his procurement code concerns.


Around the same time Jindal filed his lawsuit, BESE signed onto a lawsuit against Jindal's Common Core efforts, setting up a showdown in court. Meanwhile, the school year's opening day looms with teachers, students, parents and others involved in education in the dark about which standardized test will be given at the end of year.

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