A group of Idaho conservatives have filed a lawsuit in federal court trying to force the state to dump Common Core.
The lawsuit, filed against Gov. Butch Otter and the state’s education superintendent, seeks a legal injunction against the continued implementation of Common Core standards or the funding of its associated standardized tests. The lawsuit points out that federal law prohibits the federal government from spending money to “endorse, approve, or sanction” any curriculum intended to be used by schools at the state and local level. Common Core violates that law, it claims, and therefore its implementation must immediately be halted.
The heart of the case hinges on the Race to the Top program, created back in 2009 as part of the Obama administraton’s stimulus efforts. Race to the Top allowed states to compete for federal dollars by enacting certain education reforms. One way states could improve their chances was by adopting shared education standards with other states, a provision that incentivized Common Core. Critics say this effectively makes Common Core an illegal federal imposition on the states, even though the standards weren’t created by the federal government and aren’t named in Race to the Top.
The lawsuit also argues that the Smarter Balanced testing consortium, which Idaho participates in to produce Common Core-aligned tests, is an illegal interstate compact because it was never explicitly authorized by the U.S. Congress.
Attorney Christ Troupis, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of several parents as well as the Idaho Freedom Foundation and the Idaho Business Alliance, said his case concerned nothing less than the survival of liberty itself.
“This [Common Core] is the end of freedom in America if we do not do anything about it,” Troupis told 580KIDO, an Idaho radio station.
Despite being a deeply Republican state, Idaho has stuck by Common Core, as key figures like Gov. Otter have defended it from its critics. The lawsuit is a new approach by conservative grassroots activists who seek to get around a GOP establishment that has refused to act in the way they want.
The lawsuit’s initial prospects appear dicey. It’s very similar to a federal lawsuit filed last year by Gov. Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, who also claimed Common Core was illegal due to the federal government’s involvement via Race to the Top. That lawsuit is still active, but appears very unlikely to succeed, as a federal judge has already determined that Common Core is not a curriculum and was never directly endorsed by the federal government. (RELATED: Jindal Common Core Lawsuit Takes Major Blow)
The attack on the Smarter Balanced standardized test could be more successful, as a similar lawsuit in Missouri has successfully imperiled that state’s membership in the testing consortium. (RELATED: Court Rules Missouri’s Common Core Test Consortium UNCONSTITUTIONAL)
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