Louisiana’s BESE Joins Lawsuit Against Jindal Over PARCC, Common Core

In an unusual turn of events, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted to join the lawsuit against Governor Bobby Jindal over his opposition to the new test that BESE planned to use in the 2014-2015 academic year, as well as Common Core Standards, reports Danielle Dreilinger for NOLA.com.

This is the second in a series of three lawsuits that have resulted from the battle surrounding Common Core standards in Louisiana. The first case was filed by Brett Geymann and 17 state representatives against BESE and Superintendent John White on July 21, stating that Common Core was not properly adopted.   

 Jindal attempted to block the tests by claiming the contracts with vendors to supply them were, in fact, illegal, and that BESE must go through a new contracting process that the governor would be able to influence. Since the very day these executive orders were issued, BESE, along with state Superintendent John White, have been openly defiant.

The suit against Jindal was filed last week by Choice Foundation, a New Orleans charter group, along with a group of parents and teachers. They asserted that Jindal was overreaching into BESE’s territory. The board has since joined the lawsuit since it is addressed in the case, but the senior member Walter Lee said board members do not have to take a position on the lawsuit.

According to a report by Blake Neff for the Daily Caller, BESE had planned to launch a new lawsuit against Jindal, but instead opted to join the existing one file by Choice Foundation.

The vote to join the lawsuit was 6-4, but not all of the members agree. Lottie Beebe, education board member voted against joining the lawsuit, reports Melinda Deslatte from Shreveport Times.

 “Suing the governor? We’re a laughingstock,” she said. “We’re gambling with our children’s future. We’re saying that the Common Core standards are wonderful. How do we know?”

The governor countered with his own lawsuit in order to cancel out the legal agreement Louisiana signed in 2010 when it joined a Common Core test consortium. Even though Jindal signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, (PARCC) he now feels that it threatens Louisiana’s sovereignty and it was inappropriate to sign away the states ability to over see education policy, reports Julia O’Donoghue for NOLA.com.

The agreement that Louisiana has with PARCC is supposed to last through 2015; however White says the arragangment would likely end in September regardless of Jindal’s decision due to the fact that the federal grant that helped to fund PARCC’s test development will run out at that time.

White and BESE still want to move forward with Common Core and related standards. State students and teachers return to school in less than a month and it’s not clear what standardized testing will be used in classrooms this year.