Jindal: Common Core Tests Are Federal Scheme to Control Curriculum

Aug 7, 2014 by

Louisiana remains in a state of academic limbo, as a flurry of lawsuits for and against the Common Core standards remain unsettled less than a month before classes resume. Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal further complicated matters Wednesday by asking for an injunction against the Common Core tests scheduled to be implemented in the spring.

The state’s involvement with Common Core and the related assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) are part of a federal “scheme to drive education curriculum from Washington, D.C.,” Jindal said in a statement Wednesday, announcing changes to a lawsuit he previously filed against the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

[READ: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal Makes Plans to End Common Core]

The federal government’s hand in encouraging states to adopt higher, common standards and assessments with a financial nudge through its Race to the Top program and No Child Left Behind waivers, Jindal said, violates federal law. The amended lawsuit seeks a court injunction that would bar the board from implementing PARCC tests this coming spring as planned.

Turning his focus away from federal involvement in the standards themselves, Jindal claims in the lawsuit that the PARCC tests are the government’s vehicle for controlling what’s taught in public education.

“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,'” Jindal said in the statement. “Implementing PARCC in Louisiana crosses the line because what’s tested is what’s taught.”

The lawsuit cites the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind) as laws that “expressly ban federal departments, officers and employees” from not only overseeing school curricula, but also programs of instruction and instructional material.

[MORE: Both Sides Claim Victory With Common Core ‘Review’ Bills]

“If you control instructional materials and you control assessments and you control education products, you effectively control curriculum. That’s the underlying issue here,” Jimmy Faircloth, an attorney working with Jindal, said during a call with reporters Wednesday. “The PARCC platform is the implementing device of this federal program. And it’s built on the good intentions and the aspirations of Common Core.”

Despite being one of the first state leaders to openly embrace the Common Core standards, Jindal has changed his tune and in June told the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association – two groups involved in developing Common Core – that he wanted out. He also at the time said the board violated state law in not allowing for a competitive bid process for the state assessments when it signed on to use the PARCC tests.

The board almost immediately fired back, saying it would continue to implement both the standards and the PARCC assessments, and that Jindal did not have the power to unilaterally remove the state from both. It then voted 6-4 in late July to sign on to a lawsuit against Jindal that claims he acted unconstitutionally in trying to interfere in the board’s business.

More than a dozen state lawmakers also have a lawsuit in place against the board, claiming it implemented Common Core illegally.

[ALSO: Common Core in Flux as States Debate Standards, Tests]

Jindal acknowledged the difficult position schools and teachers are in as the new year approaches, but maintained there is a strong connection between the assessments and school instruction.

“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,” Jindal said. “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.”

via Jindal: Common Core Tests Are Federal Scheme to Control Curriculum – US News.

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