Judge Lifts Jindal’s Suspension of Common-Core Tests in Louisiana

By Andrew Ujifusa — August 19, 2014 2 min read
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A Louisiana judge on Tuesday granted a preliminary injunction that lifts the suspension of the tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards imposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal nearly two months ago.

State District Court Judge Todd Hernandez granted the injunction sought by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, state Superintendent John White, and a group of parents and teachers who have filed a lawsuit challenging the Louisiana governor’s decision. They argue that the state’s testing contract, which White and the state board had planned to use next year to administer the test developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers, or PARCC, has been illegally blocked by Jindal.

“Today’s ruling allows teachers and students to continue raising expectations in Louisiana. It enables our state to set its aspirations high and to compete with states across the country,” White said in a statement responding to Hernandez’s ruling. “Our students are just as smart and capable as any in America. We’ve been working for four years to teach them to the highest standards anywhere.”

Jindal has argued that the state board and White do not have the authority to use the PARCC exam under the terms of their current testing contract. More broadly, he has argued that because the PARCC tests are federally funded, and because common-core supporters claim that uncertainty over the state’s tests has created uncertainty in Louisiana classrooms, the tests amount to an illegal attempt by the federal government to control curriculum.

“If this judge’s ruling stands, it would cause chaos in state government and bring us back to the old days in Louisiana when it was OK to give no-bid contracts to your friends,” Jindal’s chief of staff, Kyle Plotkin, said in response to the ruling. (CORRECTION: I originally identified Jindal as the source for the quote.) “The judge took the arguments from common core proponents hook, line, and sinker. The superintendent and [board] president are creating hysteria about one test that is several months away.”

In case you’re keeping score, that’s two victories for common-core supporters when it comes to preliminary injunctions in Louisiana lawsuits related to the standards. Last week, state District Court Judge Tim Kelley denied a request for a preliminary injunction by state lawmakers that would have stopped the use of common core in Louisiana classrooms. The lawmakers have sued the state board, saying it improperly adopted common core back in 2010, an allegation board members have denied.

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