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Louisiana Board Joins Common-Core-Testing Suit Against Governor Jindal

UPDATED

Gov. Bobby Jindal took his own legal action today concerning the state's assessment. See the end of this blog post for more details.

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 6-4 on July 29 to join a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal over the governor's executive order to block the state from administering a test aligned to the Common Core State Standards in the 2014-15 school year.

Board members in favor of the move, including its president Chas Roemer, said that joining the suit, Navis Hill, et al., v. Louisiana State Governor, will give the legal challenge additional weight and added urgency. Jindal's move a month ago to block the tests has created a great deal of uncertainty in Louisiana schools, which are set to start in under a month. 

The original plaintiffs in the case filed suit last week and accused Jindal, a Republican, of overstepping his authority by taking control of education policy and testing content away from the state board. Jindal counters that the state board failed to follow Louisiana procurement law by planning to use its existing testing contract with Data Recognition Corporation as the vehicle for buying the assessment from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. 

The state board had previously sought to hire outside counsel to sue Jindal on its own. But this plan ultimately required Jindal's approval and the governor refused to grant it. (I mentioned last week that the suit against Jindal could serve as a useful "pinch-hitter" for the state board's purposes.) Some board members opposed to the lawsuit expressed concerns that the state board, in turn, would be breaking the law if it joined the Navis Hill lawsuit.

There's another lawsuit dealing with the common core, too, except in that one, the state board is a defendant, and 17 legislators who say the board improperly adopted the common core are the plaintiffs. That suit was also filed last week. 

UPDATE: Immediately after the state's board's July 29 vote, in response to the Navis Hill case, Jindal filed his own countersuit asking the court to "declare invalid and unforceable" the state's 2010 memorandum of understanding, or MOU, with PARCC. 

This countersuit from Jindal argues that the MOU improperly gives PARCC control over parts of state education policy. Read the countersuit below:

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