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Jindal Merges With Another Common Core Lawsuit

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has filed paperwork to join up with a group of Republican lawmakers in the state who are suing to halt the implementation of Common Core, the latest front in the prospective 2016 presidential candidate’s war against the standards.

The legislators’ lawsuit, filed last summer, claims that Lousiana’s adoption of Common Core several years ago was actually illegal, as the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) allegedly failed to follow the state’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA) requiring sufficient notification of planned policy actions. BESE members, as well as state superintendent John White, a former Jindal ally, have argued that the state legislature explicitly exempted them from following the APA in implementing Common Core, and have also said the standards’ adoption was completely public and aboveboard throughout.

“We have always supported the goal of this suit, which is requiring that the Louisiana Department of Education and BESE follow the law,” Jindal said in a press release announcing his intent to join the suit. “There is growing dissatisfaction with Common Core and we will continue to support every effort to halt the federalization of curriculum in Louisiana schools. Education is best left to local control – which is why we will continue fighting to get Common Core out of Louisiana.”

By joining with the lawsuit, Jindal adds the state executive branch’s full legal resources to the suit, and also entrenches himself as a leading Republican opponent of the standards nationwide.

As recently as 2013 Jindal was a public supporter of Common Core, but in the past year he has swerved to become a major critic, comparing the standards to the policies of the Soviet Union. Last spring he pressured the state legislature to repeal the standards, and when they declined to do so he took unilateral action, issuing a series of executive orders seeking to stop Common Core’s implementation and bar the use of standardized tests that would be aligned with it. Even though BESE is staffed with many Jindal appointees, the board chose to defend Common Core and sued Jindal, creating another lawsuit that is currently winding through state court.

In addition, Jindal has also filed a lawsuit against the federal government arguing that it unconstitutionally interfered with state sovereignty on education by incentivizing the adoption of Common Core with Race to the Top stimulus funds. Just this week, federal attorneys filed a motion for the case to be dismissed. By joining with the legislators, Jindal is helping to ensure he remains at the forefront of anti-Core efforts in the state even if his federal lawsuit is shot down.

The legislators’ efforts have already hit an initial setback of their own, however. Last August, a state judge shot down a request to immediately halt the use of the standards this school year.

Critics of Jindal, including White and BESE president Chas Roemer, a Republican, have repeatedly accused Jindal of cynically starting a legal battle to enhance his own presidential prospects, as the governor is widely believed to be mulling a 2016 bid and Common Core will almost certainly be a major issue for the Republican base.

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