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Missouri Must Stop Payments for Common-Core Test, Judge Orders


A Missouri judge issued a temporary, two-week restraining order last week that requires the state to stop making payments to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium that is developing tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green issued the order on Nov. 25 as part of a court case brought by a group of Missourians who are challenging the state's membership in Smarter Balanced as an "illegal interstate compact," the news station KMBC reported. Green's order notes that the consortium billed the state for over $1 million in payments in September. 

It's unclear to what extent this will impact Missouri's ability to pay for or administer the common-core aligned tests—I've asked the Missouri education department about that situation, and will update this blog post when I hear back from the department. UPDATE: A spokeswoman for the department, Sarah Potter, told me in an email that while the lawsuit might affect the state's membership and governance role in Smarter Balanced, state law requires Missouri to use the Smarter Balanced test, and the state will do so regardless of the outcome of the suit. 

Right now, Missouri plans to use the full version of Smarter Balanced in grades 5 and 8 during the 2014-15 school year, and a scaled-down version of the test in grades 3, 4, 6, and 7. 

The Missouri Coalition Against Common Core opposes the standards themselves as well as the Smarter Balanced test. The state is in the process of re-evaluating the common core with an eye to developing new standards for the 2016-17 academic year, but it's unclear whether those standards will be significantly different from the common core. 

In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, has sought to block the state from administering the common-core aligned test from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). A judge ended Jindal's suspension on the PARCC test earlier this year, although the legal fight over the test continues. 

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