Judge Allows Jindal's Anti-Common Core Lawsuit To Continue

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A federal judge refused Thursday to throw out Gov. Bobby Jindal's lawsuit against President Barack Obama's administration over the Common Core education standards.

         U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick rejected Obama administration arguments that Jindal didn't have the legal standing to bring the lawsuit and set a hearing date for the case on May 28.

         Jindal sued the U.S. Department of Education in August, accusing it of manipulating $4.3 billion in federal grant money and policy waivers to illegally pressure states to adopt the English and math standards and associated testing.

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         The Republican governor, considering a 2016 presidential campaign, said the department's actions force states down a road toward a national education curriculum in violation of the state sovereignty clause in the Constitution and federal law.

         "We are pleased the court agreed that we have the authority to challenge Common Core and the federal programs that are tied to it. Common Core is the latest attempt by Washington, D.C., to federalize the education system and it must be stopped," Jindal said in a statement.

         The Obama administration embraced the standards and encouraged states to use them. But it said Louisiana's decision to use Common Core and its aligned testing was voluntary, not coerced by the federal government.

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         In a November hearing, a lawyer representing the federal education department argued the case should be dismissed because the Jindal administration didn't show that Louisiana has suffered harm by adopting the standards or would face retaliation by ending their use.

         Dicks stressed that her decision to keep the lawsuit alive shouldn't be seen as an opinion about whether Jindal will be successful in his claims.

         "To be clear, the court finds only that Gov. Jindal has sufficiently alleged facts which support the finding that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. The burden remains on Gov. Jindal to prove these allegations on the merits," Dick wrote.

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         The Common Core standards are math and English benchmarks describing what students should know after completing each grade. More than 40 states have adopted them as a way to improve student preparation for college and careers.

         Jindal once supported the multistate standards, but changed his position last year.

         He's been unable to persuade state lawmakers and the state education board, however, to remove Common Core from Louisiana's public school classrooms. In a separate lawsuit, a state district court judge prohibited Jindal from continuing with his efforts to derail the testing by blocking contracts that paid for it.

         The governor plans to make a renewed push to jettison the standards in the legislative session that begins April 13.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte



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