Bobby Jindal’s case as the Republican Party’s premier champion against Common Core was bolstered late Thursday when a federal judge ruled that the Louisiana governor’s federal lawsuit regarding the standards will be allowed to proceed.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick, an Obama appointee, doesn’t necessarily mean that Jindal’s claim is likely to succeed, but it does mean he’ll be allowed to state his case in court. A hearing date was set for May 28.
“We are pleased the court agreed that we have the authority to challenge Common Core and the federal programs that are tied to it,” Jindal said in a statement. “Common Core is the latest attempt by Washington, D.C., to federalize the education system and it must be stopped.”
Common Core State Standards were not created by the federal government, and were adopted voluntarily by the states (some states, such as Texas and Virginia, never adopted them at all).
However, the Obama Administration encouraged their adoption through the Race to the Top program, which offered states a chance of earning federal stimulus funds if they adopted various education reforms, among them standards shared with other states. More recently, it has encouraged states to keep the standards through the granting of waivers to the No Child Left Behind law.
Jindal’s lawsuit, first filed last August, claims those incentives amount to illegal coercion rather than a mere nudge.
The Obama administration has argued for a dismissal, claiming Jindal lacks standing. The governor, it says, has not shown how Louisiana has suffered harm from adopting Common Core or how it could suffer reprisals if it pulls out now.
Jindal initially supported Common Core, and helped drive its adoption in Louisiana back in 2010. However, since 2013 he has swerved sharply against it, likening it to the policies of the Soviet Union. Last summer, after Louisiana legislators failed to repeal the standards, Jindal tried to unilaterally eliminate them with a series of executive orders. However, that effort failed in state court after the state’s school board, many of whom are Jindal appointees, defied Jindal’s orders as unconstitutional.
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