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State legislators file Common Core lawsuit


Seventeen Louisiana legislators have filed a lawsuit over Common Core.

The legislators, who also tried to repeal Common Core during this year’s Legislative Session, are suing Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Superintendent John White. The lawsuit alleges both did not comply with the state’s Administrative Procedures Act when implementing Common Core.

The lawsuit comes at a time when appearances show that Gov. Bobby Jindal, White and the state school board are headed to court over utilizing a Common Core standardized test next year.

State Representative Henry Burns, R-Haughton, is the only Bossier lawmaker who is part of the suit.

“Common Core was first introduced to us as having a better outcome, more rigor, and making our students more competitive in the world market. Who would argue with that? But with very little oversight, many of the dynamics of Common Core were never really reviewed appropriately from the start,” said Burns.

He said the legislators are trying to end the protracted debate so state educators can move forward.

“One way or the other, maybe we can go ahead and resolve this issue and more forward,” said Burns.

Burns’ HB 163 filed during the past legislative session attempted to repeal the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test. It was deferred in committee after legislators decided to put the fate of Common Core and PARCC in the hands of Jindal.

Last month, Jindal suspended state contracts last month in order to prevent White from purchasing a Common Core assessment for the 2014-2015 school year, and the pair was unable to compromise last week over what type of school test to use.

Jindal said he did not coordinate with the legislators, while White dismissed the lawsuit.

“Though we were not involved in the filing of this suit, we support these and other efforts by legislators to ensure the law is followed,” said Jindal via a written statement.

The Common Core academic standards are a national program devised by state officials and parish school boards with the goal of deciding what students are supposed to learn each year in mathematics and English, with the goal of being able to easily compare students’ progress with other states in the U.S.

The legislators bringing the lawsuit with Burns are Representatives James Armes, Terry Brown, Brett Geymann, Johnny Guinn, Lance Harris, Joe Harrison, Kenny Havard, Bob Hensgens, Cameron Henry, Paul Hollis, Barry Ivey, Sam Jones, Rogers Pope, Dee Richard, John Schroder, and Lenar Whitney.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.