Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the Obama administration of forcing states to adopt the Common Core standards.
Jindal for years supported the education standards in reading and math, but withdrew his backing this year. He’s a 2016 Republican presidential hopeful, and opposition to the Common Core has become a rallying cry for conservatives.
Louisiana is one of 43 states that have adopted the Common Core, and that came with Jindal’s blessing. In this video this year supporting the Common Core, from the Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Jindal is quoted (about three minutes in) with a picture and statement, saying: "Adopting the Common Core State Standards ... will raise expectations for every child."
The Common Core standards say what children should know at the end of every grade. State leaders from across the country launched the effort to create them in 2009. The Obama administration backed them and provided incentives for states that raised their standards in order to prepare students for college or work.
Jindal’s suit argues that the administration used federal grants to compel states to adopt the standards. It also claims that the Department of Education unlawfully gave states waivers from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Law in exchange for adopting the standards and assessments. It also said that the department changed the test approval process to coerce states to use the department’s preferred tests or risk losing federal funds.
“The federal government has hijacked and destroyed the Common Core initiative,” Jindal said. “ 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.”
The standards don’t specify any reading lists or require specific curricula. Those decisions are left to teachers. But Jindal argued that there will be common tests of whether students have met the standards. “Make no mistake _ Common Core tests will drive curriculum,” Jindal said.
What are the learning goals that make up the Common Core? You can read them here.