BESE votes to join Common Core lawsuit against JIndal
BATON ROUGE - Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted Tuesday to join a lawsuit filed to challenge Governor Bobby Jindal's efforts to stop Common Core in Louisiana.
The board voted 6-4 to join the suit filed on behalf of several parents, educators, and charter school managers in the state. One member of the board, Jay Guillot of Ruston, was absent.
The suit claims Jindal overstepped his authority when he issued executive orders and took other actions to remove the state from the Common Core education standards. Jindal claimed the new standards represented a federal intrusion on the state's education system, even though Common Core was a volunteer-led initiative which originated among and was developed by a group of states, including representatives from Louisiana.
BESE President Chas Roemer said that since the board's role in state education was part of the suit, they needed to be involved. He was opposed by members Walter Lee, Lottie Beebe, Carolyn Hill and Jane Smith.
The board previously voted to hire an attorney to advise them during the political struggle. Jindal's Division of Administration raised issues with the decision to hire an attorney, attempting to block the move by claiming BESE could not hire counsel to take adverse actions against the state.
Roemer said Tuesday that the Attorney General's Office would represent BESE in a separate lawsuit filed by a group of lawmakers. That suit claimed the board did not properly follow state law when it began implementation of Common Core in 2010. Superintendent of Education John White said the suit had no merit, and was a stalling tactic.
Shortly after the decision was made, the Jindal administration filed countersuit claiming that the deal the state made with PARCC gives control of Louisiana's education policy to a group of other states who organized Common Core. Roemer called it a political ploy, and said the Jindal administration has shown they have no interest in reaching an actual resolution in the case.
The first hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 18.
News 2's Jason Newton is at the BESE meeting and will have more details starting tonight at 4 p.m.