Lawsuit filed to stop Common Core use in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Seventeen state lawmakers asked a judge on Monday to end Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools, saying education leaders didn't properly enact the multistate benchmarks.
Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, who opposes the standards, said the lawsuit was filed in Baton Rouge district court, seeking an immediate suspension of the standards in schools.
"Unless an injunction issues herein by the Court, needless time and resources will be expended in the teaching, testing, learning, and financing of Common Core, all to the detriment of the citizens of Louisiana," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit alleges the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE, and the state education department did not follow Louisiana's Administrative Procedures Act for rolling out the new standards in classrooms.
The act requires public notice, a 90-day comment period and legislative oversight, provisions that have been followed prior to other changes that have been made to education standards in Louisiana, the legislators said.
"We find nowhere in statute that gives them an exemption," Geymann said.
Education board President Chas Roemer and Education Superintendent John White said BESE isn't required to follow the Administrative Procedures Act.
"The premise of their complaint is false," Roemer said. "We adopted the standards clearly, and we followed the law."
White cited a 2012 law that requires the state to use nationally recognized content standards, saying Common Core is the only set of standards to meet those criteria.
The legal challenge is part of a continuing struggle over the Common Core standards, which have become controversial since BESE adopted them in 2010. The standards, grade-by-grade benchmarks of what students should learn in English and math, have been adopted by more than 40 states.
Gov. Bobby Jindal, a one-time Common Core supporter and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, now opposes the standards as a federal intrusion into local education, echoing criticisms levied by tea party supporters around the country.
But he and other Common Core critics have been unable to persuade BESE to change course. Lawmakers also upheld use of the standards earlier this year.
Jindal has suspended state contracts used by the education department as a way to stop the purchase of testing material aligned with Common Core.
"Though we were not involved in the filing of this suit, we support these and other efforts by legislators to ensure the law is followed," the governor said in a statement.
Without following the Administrative Procedures Act, the lawsuit says citizens "were denied their procedural due process rights to have their comments and concerns heard" before adoption and use of the standards.
The lawsuit was filed by 13 Republicans, two Democrats and two legislators without party affiliation.

MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press

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