BATON ROUGE — A lawsuit seeking to block Louisiana’s use of the Common Core education standards in public schools was dismissed Monday by a state district judge who said the legal challenge was filed too late.
Seventeen state lawmakers sued the state Education Department and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in July, saying education leaders didn’t properly enact the multistate English and math standards. Gov. Bobby Jindal later joined the lawsuit.
Superintendent of Education John White, a Common Core supporter, said the education board argued that the legal challenge had to be filed within two years of the standards’ adoption in 2010. District Court Judge Tim Kelley agreed and threw the case out.
“It is my hope that the legislators and the governor will see the wisdom in allowing a sensible, responsible, professional path forward in the state,” White said. He said getting rid of Common Core “would throw the education system into chaos.”
Jindal said he was disappointed Kelley didn’t rule on the merits of the case. The Republican governor said he supports plans to appeal the judge’s decision and noted his separate federal lawsuit is still pending.
“It’s important to note that we are also still fighting Common Core in federal court, where a judge has recently ruled that our case has standing and will be heard,” Jindal said in a statement.
The Common Core standards are benchmarks of what students should learn at each grade level in English and math. They’ve been adopted by more than 40 states as a way to better prepare students for college and careers. Opponents say the standards are developmentally inappropriate and part of federal efforts to nationalize education.
The lawsuit alleged the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE, and the Education Department did not follow Louisiana’s Administrative Procedures Act when adopting the standards. The act requires public notice, a comment period and legislative oversight.
The legislators said those provisions had been followed prior to other changes to education standards in Louisiana. But White, who was not superintendent when Common Core was adopted, said that wasn’t required.
“It is time to move forward,” education board President Chas Roemer said in a statement.
He said BESE adopted the standards to improve educational outcomes and “those plans should not be derailed by meaningless lawsuits.”
Common Core opponents have lost repeated attempts to jettison the standards.
Lawmakers and BESE have refused to scrap them. In a separate lawsuit, another state district court judge prohibited Jindal from continuing with his efforts to derail Common Core testing by blocking contracts that paid for it.
More than 300,000 third- through eighth-grade students took standardized tests fully aligned with Common Core for the first time earlier this month.
Jindal intends to push a repeal of the standards in the upcoming legislative session that begins April 13. The governor also will ask lawmakers to specifically require BESE to follow the Administrative Procedures Act.