Bobby Jindal CPAC 2014
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) speaking at CPAC 2014 in National Harbor, MD.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson –

(Baton Rouge, LA) Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced today that he has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education (USDED) over their involvement with the Common Core State Standards.  He argues that the USDED under President Barack Obama’s leadership violated the Tenth Amendment and federal laws when they have coerced states into adopting the Common Core State Standards and their aligned assessments.

Jindal argues that the Obama Administration used Race to the Top to compel states to adopt the Common Core and to utilize an assessment created by federally-funded consortia.  In his lawsuit he also argues that USDED changed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) state test review and approval process that will coerce states to adopt the department’s preferred assessments or risk billions in Federal funding which would violate limitations on the federal role in education policy put in place by Congress.

“The federal government has hijacked and destroyed the Common Core initiative. Common Core is the latest effort by big government disciples to strip away state rights and put Washington, D.C. in control of everything. What started out as an innovative idea to create a set of base-line standards that could be ‘voluntarily’ used by the states has turned into a scheme by the federal government to nationalize curriculum,” Jindal said in a released statement.

“The proponents of Common Core will tell you that it’s simply about one test and about standards, but that’s a ruse. Common Core is about controlling curriculum. Educators know that what’s tested is what’s taught.  Make no mistake – Common Core tests will drive curriculum. Common Core supporters should own up to this fact and finally admit they want to control curriculum. These are big government elitists that believe they know better than parents and local school boards,” Jindal stated.

“Through the federally funded consortia, PARCC, along with Race to the Top grants, the federal government has coerced states into giving up local control of education. The federal government’s actions are in violation of the Constitution and federal law and we will continue to fight to protect local control of education,” Jindal added.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative launched in 2009 by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers to develop a set of learning standards for math and English language arts with additional literacy standards in social studies and science.  In 2010 45 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the Common Core in large part due to the Race to the Top grant program which was a $4.35 Billion earmark in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Jindal’s lawsuit also argues that USDED used Race to the Top and the federally funded consortia – Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) to “herd” states together in an effort to nationalize curriculum.  He further argues that PARCC and SBAC are agents of the Federal government in the implementation of nationalized curriculum.

This is a similar point made by Robert S. Eitel and Kent D. Talbert in their white paper The Road to a National Curriculum: The Legal Aspects of the Common Core Standards, Race to the Top, and Conditional Waivers published by the Pioneer Institute in a joint release with the Federalist Society, American Principles Project and the Pacific Research Institute.

“In suing the federal government for its unauthorized efforts to propagate the Common Core system, Gov. Jindal is defending the liberties of citizens and the constitutional structure intended to protect those liberties,” American Principles Project’s Education Director Emmett McGroarty said. “His courageous leadership provides a beacon of hope to the moms, dads, teachers, and other citizens across the country who are fighting for high-quality education.”

“Private entities developed the Common Core through a private process and used the federal government to push it into the states through a series of end-runs around the constitutional structure.  Common Core’s defective development process resulted in a product that locks children into an inferior education,” McGroarty continued. “It does not prepare them for studies in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; it does not prepare them for authentic college coursework in the humanities; and many of its standards are age-inappropriate.”

McGroarty concluded, “Teachers, parents and other citizens are increasingly becoming aware of Common Core’s defects, and the pushback against it is thus becoming even more powerful. This battle is far from over, but we will continue to work to defeat the faulty Common Core standards and fight the flawed process through which they were foisted upon the states.”

McGroarty, along with Jane Robbins also warned about the Federal involvement in the Common Core State Standards in a white paper entitled Controlling Education from the Top.

Pioneer Institute in a released statement today said the following four actions taken by USDED are clear violations of federal restrictions placed on the Department:

  1. The conditional waivers to NCLB offered by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have never been approved by Congress. Past secretaries of the federal department of education have granted waivers, but never with a unilateral and material assertion of policy that is contradicted by existing federal law.
  2. The two consortia receiving over $350 million in federal funds include in their funding applications explicit recognition that they would develop curricular materials and instructional practice guides.
  3. The federal Department of Education has created a national technical-review board and process for the two federally-funded state consortia that are designing national assessments for the Common Core standards.
  4. The federal Department of Education has criticized states that have sought to exit Common Core and national tests.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Jindal by Faircloth, Melton & Keiser, LLC in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana seeks a declaration that the USDED violated federal law and the 10th Amendment by requiring under Race to the Top that states join a consortium of states under federal direction and to adopt Common Core State Standards and assessment products developed by the consortium.  They also seek an injunction to enjoin the USDED use of such unlawful conditions in connection with further awards and from disqualifying or penalizing a state that decides to withdraw.

You can read the lawsuit below:

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