Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s effort to repeal Common Core suffered a major setback when a state judge said the governor’s executive orders stop the controversial education standards could not be enforced.
Jindal, once a supporter of Common Core, has in the last two months launched a major effort to have them repealed. A set of executive orders in June ordered the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to craft new state education standards, and invalidated contracts BESE had made to write and administer the PARCC standardized tests that are aligned with Common Core. Jindal claimed these contracts had violated state procurement law.
A group of parents, joined by BESE, then sued Jindal, claiming his executive orders were an unconstitutional overreach.
Judge Todd Hernandez agreed, issuing stinging criticisms of the governor’s legal position.
“The defendants…failed to produce any evidence that the plaintiffs have violated any law concerning the procurement of state contracts,” he wrote in his opinion. Hernandez added that the state’s students were suffering “irreparable harm” because of Jindal’s actions, due the uncertainty educators were experiencing over what tests to prepare students for in the spring.
Hernandez issued an immediate injunction on Jindal’s executive orders and said that Common Core implementation and the use of PARCC standardized tests were to continue unimpeded. The injunction is not the final ruling on the matter, but Hernandez said it indicated that the plaintiffs were very likely to succeed in the final ruling as well.
The ruling is the second victory for Common Core supporters in the past week. Last Friday, a judge in a separate suit dismissed a request for an injunction on Common Core submitted by 17 members of the state legislature who are suing BESE on their own.
Jindal’s chief of staff Kyle Plotkin announced in a statement that the governor planned to appeal, and said Hernandez’s ruling was “wrong on the facts and the law.” He also accused BESE and state superintendent John White of fomenting “hysteria” in the state over standardized tests, and said the decision could enable a wave of corruption in the state.
“If this judge’s ruling stands, it would cause chaos in state government and bring us back to the old days in Louisiana when it was OK to give no-bid contracts to your friends,” Plotkin said.
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