Dispute Over Common Core Aired in Testing Contracts Hearing

Aug 19, 2014

UPDATE: Judge Todd Hernandez issued a ruling late Tuesday in favor of Common Core supporters. The written ruling lifts Gov. Bobby Jindal's suspension of the contracts for tests to be administered this school year. Read the ruling

A group of parents and educators — later joined by the state school board — sued the Jindal administration last month after the governor suspended contracts for test materials aligned with Common Core education standards. A state judge heard arguments in the case Monday. 

The plaintiffs, supporting Common Core, allege Jindal overstepped his authority on education policy in suspending the testing contracts. Lawyers for the governor say he was only exercising his oversight of agreements they say didn’t comply with state procurement law.

But for what he termed “philosophical differences” with BESE and the state Department of Education, Judge Todd Hernandez said at the conclusion of Monday’s hearing, the Jindal administration would not have sought to suspend the contracts.

Hernandez did not immediately rule on the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction to allow the testing to go ahead as planned this school year.

BESE is required by a 2012 law to start implementing assessments in English and math based on “nationally recognized content standards”.

State Supt. John White testified Common Core, which was once adopted by 43 states, is the only set of standards that would fit that definition. The contracts Jindal suspended provide for tests Louisiana developed in the PARCC consortium with 11 other states to go along with Common Core. Reverting to older tests, White said, would be breaking the law.

The governor’s attorney, Jimmy Faircloth, argued PARCC has robbed local districts of the authority to set curriculum. In closing he said, “He who controls assessments controls curriculum.”