Education

Louisiana’s New Governor Is Abandoning Bobby Jindal’s Common Core Lawsuit

CREDIT: Gerald Herbert, AP

iN 2012, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal talks about the oil spill as he flies over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Louisiana coast. Jindal is finishing his final days as Louisiana’s governor.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) won’t continue the state’s lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education over the Common Core state standards, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.

“It does not benefit students to continue to use time and resources to pursue litigation that no longer has any bearing on classrooms in Louisiana… Instead, we need to focus on doing everything possible to provide students and teachers with the support they need to ensure a quality educational system,” Edwards said in a statement published by the AP.

Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who dropped his presidential bid in the fall of last year, filed the lawsuit in 2014. Jindal’s lawsuit argued that the federal government was using its Race to the Top money to pressure states into adopting the standards and in doing so reached “far beyond the intentions of Congress.” It also asserted that the initiative is responsible for “federal direction or control of curriculum” and that the Obama administration’s actions violate the 10th amendment.

However, participation in the grant programs is completely optional, and states that have dropped the standards did not actually lose their grants.

Shelly Dick, U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of Louisiana, did not agree with Jindal’s argument, and denied his lawsuit last year. She said that even if standards were mandated — which they weren’t — the federal government would not have violated states’ rights since it was not a mandated curriculum, according to the Times-Picayune.

In addition to the points Dick made regarding Common Core implementation, a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law — called the Every Student Succeeds Act — passed last year to alleviate concerns, mostly from conservatives, about a “federal takeover” of schools under Common Core. The legislation makes it clear that the federal government can’t mandate or provide incentives for states to adopt or maintain a certain set of academic standards.

Edwards is eliminating the $375,000 contract for Jimmy Faircloth, the lawyer who argued the case, the AP reported.

Jindal has not always been opposed to Common Core. He pushed for the implementation of the standards in Louisiana and signed them into law. In fact, he fought to make implementation easier, despite the fact that state education officials were concerned about a political dust-up.

UPDATE FEB 10, 2016 12:58 PM

Despite the governor's decision, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said he should be able to continue to pursue the lawsuit, The Associated Press reported.

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