A judge in Jefferson City, Mo. ruled on Tuesday that the state’s payment of more than $4 million in membership fees as part of a standardized testing consortium is illegal.
The consortium is the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two testing large groups seeking to create Common Core-aligned standardized tests that will be shared among multiple states.
Circuit court Judge Daniel R. Green, an elected Republican, ordered that Missouri won’t be among the states paying fees.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium “is an unlawful interstate compact to which the U.S. Congress has never consented, whose existence and operation violate” Article I, § 10 of the federal Constitution, the judge wrote.
The specific part of the Article I, § 10 on which the judge relies is a prohibition on agreements between two or more states without the prior consent of Congress.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium violates “numerous federal statutes” as well, the judge declared in finding for three plaintiffs who sued to block payment of the fees.
Thus, “Missouri’s participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium as a member is unlawful under state and federal law,” the judge said.
“[N]o Missouri taxpayer funds may be disbursed” for Smarter Balanced membership fees, he also decreed.
Show-Me State education officials had budgeted approximately $4.3 million to pay Smarter Balanced Assessment dues this fiscal year, notes KYTV, an NBC station out of Springfield, Mo.
It’s not clear if state officials will appeal the decision.
Missouri is among the multitude of states that have adopted Common Core, a complex set of K-12 math and language arts curriculum benchmarks and related high-stakes standardized tests. (RELATED: ABANDON SHIP! Common Core Is Rapidly Sinking Across The Country)