In a blow to opponents of the Common Core State Standards in Louisiana, a Baton Rouge judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and a group of lawmakers who argued that state officials violated Louisiana law when they adopted the controversial K-12 academic standards in 2010.
Jindal, a GOP 2016 presidential hopeful, is separately suing the Obama administration in federal court over what he says was its role in coercing states to adopt the Common Core standards.
In a statement released by his office, Jindal said he was “disappointed” by Monday’s decision and that he would support an appeal. He also pledged to fight on.
“It’s important to note that we are also still fighting Common Core in federal court, where a judge has recently ruled that our case has standing and will be heard,” Jindal said.
Two weeks ago, the governor announced that he would back a new legislative push to repeal the Common Core in his state. The governor’s proposal would require that new K-12 math and reading standards be created with input and approval from local school boards, state education officials and the state legislature.
It would also withdraw Louisiana from the Common Core standardized tests that are being administered this spring to more than 340,000 Louisiana students.
The lawsuit that was dismissed Monday by Judge Timothy Kelley of the District Court in Baton Rouge alleged that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the state education department did not comply with state law that requires public notice and legislative oversight when adopting academic standards.
Kelley tossed out the case, saying lawmakers brought it too late. Under state law, they had two years to challenge the standards but filed their complaint five years after the Common Core was adopted.
Jindal has been engaged in an intramural battle over the Common Core with his state superintendent for education, John White, and the state board of education, both advocates for the Common Core.
The standards, which spell out the skills and knowledge students should possess at the end of each grade from K through 12, have been fully adopted by 43 states and the District of Columbia.
“Today’s ruling should be a reminder there is no legal basis, and no academic basis, for an extremist plan to politicize the classrooms of our state,” said White, who wants math and reading experts to review and tweak the Common Core State Standards but opposes any plan to scrap them entirely.
“We need a professional plan going forward,” he said. “The responsible, professional path is to review and monitor the state’s academic standards, making adjustments where appropriate.”
Once a strong supporter of the Common Core, Jindal has transformed into a vocal critic, as opposition to the reading and math standards has grown among both progressives and hard-right conservatives.
Jindal signed off on Louisiana’s adoption of the standards in 2010, but in the past 18 months has tried to ditch them. His earlier efforts to unilaterally dump the standards went nowhere. Several legislative attempts to repeal the standards last year collapsed. The governor has also tried unsuccessfully to use state contracting law to negate Louisiana’s contract for the current Common Core tests.