Feds Using PARCC Test to Illegally Control Curriculum, La. Gov. Jindal Argues

By Andrew Ujifusa — August 07, 2014 2 min read
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In an amended legal complaint regarding tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal states that if the federally funded assesments are so crucial to the common core that their absence cripples teachers’ classroom work, then the tests ultimately amount to control of teaching and learning by Washington bureaucrats.

Jindal, a Republican, made the case in Louisiana district court on Aug. 6 that the tests from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, should therefore be blocked by the court as an illegal federal intrusion into state control of education. The governor is seeking a preliminary injunction from the court to stop PARCC from being used in Louisiana. He also called PARCC a “federal agent.”

The argument from Jindal amounts to a syllogism. If the federal government funds the tests, and the tests control what teachers do in classrooms, the governor claims, then the federal government is controlling curriculum, which is illegal. Jindal says the arguments from common-core and PARCC supporters about the damage uncertainty over testing creates for teachers prove his point.

It’s merely the latest legal maneuver in an increasingly complicated and ugly battle over the tests, as well as the standards themselves, in the Pelican State. Jindal has announced an all-out war on the common core and has focused his opposition on PARCC by blocking a testing contract that the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education planned to use to administer PARCC in the 2014-15 academic year.

The state board subsequently joined a lawsuit from parents and others that sought to overturn the barrier to the PARCC test thrown up by the Jindal administration.

Jindal then countersued, and his Aug. 6 petition is an amendment to that countersuit.

(There’s a separate lawsuit from state lawmakers seeking to invalidate the state school board’s 2010 adoption of common core because they say it failed to follow proper administrative and public-notice procedures.)

“Simply put, PARCC is the implementation platform for a carefully orchestrated federal scheme to supervise, direct, and control educational curriculum, programs of instruction and instructional materials in direct violation of federal law,” Jindal’s amended lawsuit states.

State Board President Chas Roemer and other state officials have said that the state did not give up control of its educational system when it decided to use PARCC tests. Last year, the state board revised its policies to reaffirm districts’ control over curriculum during the transition to the common core, while also “preventing the state or federal government from forcing school systems to use a specific curriculum or course content.”

In a subsequent Aug. 6 statement, PARCC spokesman David Connerty-Marin fired back that the testing consortium is a group of states whose K-12 superintendents direct what PARCC does.

“The consortium sets general policy for test development and administration. Individual states and/or their school districts make decisions about implementation of the assessments, the standards, and curriculum,” Connerty-Marin said.

Read Jindal’s legal complaint involving the PARCC tests and his accusations of federal control of curriculum below:

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.