States

Oklahoma Supreme Court Asked to Invalidate Law Repealing Common Core

By Andrew Ujifusa — June 26, 2014 1 min read

A petition from members of the Oklahoma State Board of Education, as well as parents and teachers, asks the state’s highest court to throw out a law signed by Gov. Mary Fallin earlier this month that repealed the Common Core State Standards.

The petition, which was filed June 25, claims that House Bill 3399 gives the state legislature too much power over the standards-adoption process, according to the The Oklahoman newspaper. That legislation gives the state school board authority to draft new standards in consultation with other state officials, but the legislature ultimately has the power to approve the standards that the state board adopts.

The attorney for those who submitted the petition, Robert McCampbell, told the state Supreme Court that while state lawmakers have a role to play in education, the new law “goes beyond setting policy and would have the Legislature involved in actually administering what would be happening inside Oklahoma classrooms by having the Legislature control the drafting of the subject matter standards.”

If this argument sounds familiar, that’s because I mentioned McCampbell nearly a month ago, when he wrote a letter to Fallin (before she signed the bill into law) warning that the legislation potentially ran afoul of the state’s constitution, which specifies the creation and duties of the state school board. At the time, McCampbell was writing on behalf of the National Association of State Boards of Education, an Arlington, Va.-based organization that has state school boards as members and subsequently is wary of laws granting legislatures more power over content standards.

A spokesman for Fallin told The Oklahoman that the governor hopes that the repeal of common core in the state will stand, even if the court chooses to take action regarding the legislature’s new power over standards.

My colleague Catherine Gewertz recently published a piece analyzing moves by state lawmakers to increase their oversight of standards in light of the ongoing political fight over the common core.

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