Louisiana Governor’s Lawsuit Against DOE Proceeds

Published March 11, 2015

A federal judge ruled Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education regarding Common Core will proceed.

The judge denied a motion by the Department of Justice to dismiss the case.

Jindal is grateful the lawsuit is moving forward, according to a press release issued by his office February 26.

“We are pleased the Court agreed that we have the authority to challenge Common Core and the federal programs that are tied to it,” wrote Jindal. “Common Core is the latest attempt by Washington, D.C. to federalize the education system and it must be stopped.”

Jindal’s lawsuit asserts the federal government coerced states into adopting Common Core standards and into participating in federally backed testing consortia.

Seen As Important Victory

Lance Izumi, a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, says Jindal’s lawsuit moving forward is an important victory for Common Core opponents.

“The ruling by the federal district court judge that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education can proceed is an important procedural victory for the governor and opponents of Common Core,” said Izumi. “Jindal’s lawsuit argues that the federal government essentially imposed a federally supported curriculum on Louisiana [and, by extension, other states] through, among other things, federal grant incentives.”

Gene Mills, president of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), says there are four main reasons his organization opposes Common Core: a growing lack of parental support, federal interference in education, student privacy concerns, and the cost and feasibility of administering Common Core-aligned testing.

“LFF fully supports Gov. Jindal’s attempts to free Louisiana education from the constraints of Common Core,” Mills said. “No one is against high standards. We just think Common Core has become problematic.”

‘Gives Hope to Families’

Mills says Jindal’s lawsuit was necessary because the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and Department of Education otherwise would not have considered corrective action regarding Common Core implementation.

“The fact that the court has allowed the lawsuit to proceed gives hope to families across Louisiana,” Mills said.

“We think that using No Child Left Behind [waivers] and [Race to the Top] incentives to move states to a federalized education system is ill-advised,” Mills said. “It might be well-intentioned, but we think it is ill-advised. That function is left to the states, according to the Constitution.”

Izumi says Jindal deserves praise for bringing this case forward.

“Common Core opponents have been making this point for the past five years, so adjudicating this federal overreach, with its damage to the Tenth Amendment, is critically important,” Izumi said. “While it is unclear how the court will decide the case on the merits, allowing the lawsuit to proceed will mean that Common Core’s negative impact on state and local control of education will receive a transparent public airing—something that Common Core crafters and supporters have largely failed to do. For that, Gov. Jindal is to be thanked.”

Heather Kays ([email protected]) is a research fellow with The Heartland Institute and is managing editor of School Reform News.

Image by Derek Bridges.