Turning to federal court represents a new tactic in Jindal’s efforts to undermine Louisiana’s use of the standards.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has criticized the governor’s opposition to Common Core as politically driven. In a June interview with “CBS This Morning,” the secretary said of Jindal’s switched position: “It’s about politics, it’s not about education.”
Duncan’s office didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment on Jindal’s lawsuit.
The Obama administration embraced the standards and encouraged states to adopt them as part of the application process for the Race to the Top grant program. Two state testing consortia — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium — received $330 million from the grant program to develop standardized testing material tied to Common Core.
“Louisiana now finds itself trapped in a federal scheme to nationalize curriculum,” the lawsuit says. “What started as good state intentions has materialized into the federalization of education policy through federal economic incentives and duress.”
Louisiana received more than $17 million from Race to the Top and joined the PARCC consortium. It also received a waiver from certain federal education requirements under a program enacted by the Obama administration in 2011 that Jindal’s lawsuit says was designed to coerce states to use Common Core or risk the loss of billions in federal education funding.
The lawsuit seeks a judge to declare the Department of Education’s actions unconstitutional and to keep it from disqualifying states from receiving Race to the Top funds based on a refusal to use Common Core or to participate in one of the testing consortia.