BATON ROUGE – The Office of Governor Bobby Jindal filed an amended petition in court today arguing that the state’s agreement with PARCC is in violation of federal law because it is an attempt to federalize education curriculum through control over education assessments and programs of instruction.
The amended petition also shows that the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education (BESE) never formally approved the state’s participation in PARCC and the Governor is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop BESE’s use of the PARCC materials until the court has the opportunity to rule on the legal issues.
Governor 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. 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.
“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. 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.”
In addition to the existing claim that the PARCC agreement unlawfully delegates BESE’s authority to the PARCC Governing Board, the amended petition states:
1. The PARCC Agreement Violates Federal Law Because Federal Law Prohibits The Federal Government From Directing Or Controlling Education Curriculum:
“The Common Core standards were originally created and promoted to be voluntary, with no strings tied to federal mandates or federal conditions affecting curriculum, programs of instruction, or instructional materials.
“The General Education Provisions Act (‘GEPA’), the Department of Education Organization Act (‘DOEA’), and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (‘ESEA’), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 expressly ban federal departments, officers and employees from directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum, programs of instruction, and instructional material.
“The Race to Top Program, however, effectively coopted Common Core for the federal government, attempting to accomplish indirectly through economic coercion that which the federal government is prohibited from accomplishing directly.
“PARCC was created in direct response to the Race for the Top Assessment Program. Its purpose is to marshal states toward the centralized control of education standards and content through its ‘Comprehensive Assessment Systems,’ which effectively controls assessment, testing, and instructional products and materials.
“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.
“By committing the State to PARCC’s governance, obligations and products, BESE is effectively enabling a violation of federal law.”
2. A Preliminary Injunction Should Be Granted To Stop BESE’s Use Of PARCC Materials:
“Governor Jindal [is entitled to] injunctive relief, as the citizens of the State of Louisiana will suffer irreparable injury, loss and damage if the assessment system developed by PARCC is implemented in the 2014-15 school year because the assessments developed by PARCC represent an unlawful exercise of federal control of education in Louisiana.
“Because of the imminent risk of irreparable harm created by the unlawful exercise of federal control of education in Louisiana, Governor Jindal seeks a Preliminary Injunction, and in time, a Permanent Injunction, enjoining, restraining and prohibiting Defendant, BESE, and any person or agency who is charged with the implementation of the policies of BESE, from implementing or administering any assessment system or tool developed pursuant to the PARCC Memorandum.”
3. BESE Never Formally Approved Louisiana’s Participation In PARCC:
“In the exercise of its supervision and control over the public elementary and secondary schools and special schools under its jurisdiction, BESE has the authority to enter into contracts and agreements, in accordance with applicable law. See La. Const. Art. VIII, Sec. 3; La. R.S. 17:6.
“In January, 2010, in connection with its adoption of ‘common core,’ BESE generally approved Louisiana’s participation in an Assessment Consortium of states to develop and implement Common Core standards. Six months later, in June, 2010, the State of Louisiana entered into the PARCC Memorandum.
“BESE has never specifically approved the State’s participation in PARCC or the PARCC Memorandum and its associated obligations and commitments, including PARCC’s centralized control of assessments and teaching products.
“The PARCC Memorandum has not been formally approved by BESE and is thus invalid.”