Legislators File Court Action for Ruling on Common Core

Legislators File Court Action for Ruling on Common Core

17 Louisiana lawmakers have filed suit against BESE and the Department of Education.
BATON ROUGE -- After Governor Bobby Jindal and Superintendent John White failed to find some common ground to common core last week.

On Monday, more than a dozen lawmakers announced they're deciding to take matters into their own hands.

Seventeen legislators, most from south Louisiana, are suing BESE and superintendent White to stop common core.

White dismissed the lawsuit, calling it "frivolous" in a conference call on Monday.

"They've alleged this before and in different letters and different legislative hearings, so this is not new," he said.

The lawmakers are asking for a ruling on whether BESE and the department of education failed to properly enact the new common core academic standards.

They specifically site the Administrative Procedures Act, which governs rule-making in all agencies of state government. They also claim the full details of the common core standards was not properly advertised to the public or given full legislative oversight before it was implemented.

The legislators contend that BESE and DOE never implemented the changes in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, which prescribes a specific process, requiring public notice, a 90 day comment period, open hearings and legislative oversight. 

The lawmakers say this procedure of advertisement is reflected in bulletins published in the Louisiana register that chronicle the current state of administrative law. They claim there are no bulletins for Louisiana educational standards more recent than November 2005.

"They're making a claim, that while it appears legitimate, actually has no validity, because there is no requirement, to do the very thing that they're alleging that BESE didn't do," said White.  "The law says, 'BESE, you need to approve the standards that the department establishes.' Well, those two things happened doesn't say anything about the Administrative Procedures Act."

White's comments in the conference call Monday are fighting back to the claims by the legislators.

"The law came in and said standards based assessment implemented by BESE shall be based on nationally recognized content standards, well, there's only one set of nationally recognized content standards in English and math, called Common Core State Standards."

"There's no law saying that BESE has to following the administrative procedures act and while it is true that they allege the common core standards did not go through the APA, so it is also true of the vast majority of things that BESE does," White said. "The constitution empowers BESE to supervise and control the public schools, pursuant to the law. "

The petitioning lawmakers  point out that in the past, changes to education standards were implemented properly under the act.

"Everything that the law requires to be done, was done in 2010. And it is false, it creates a false impression to say that BESE had to follow the administrative procedures act when the law simply does not say it," said White. "The law obligates the department to establish content standards - this happened. They required BESE to approve. This happened. And the standards should be nationally recognized, this happened, also."

For weeks, BESE has been considering a lawsuit against the governor --- which means two legal disputes over common core could happen at the same time in the state.

"This just seems like another maneuver to slow us down, to bog us down, to go outside of the legislative and BESE constitutional powers and try to find a way to stop implementation of common core," said Chas Roemer, BESE president.  "The premise of their complaint is false. We did not have to follow the APA in order adopt the standards. We adopted the standards clearly and we followed the law as law required."

BESE and White provided documents from when they passed the common core state standards, including board minutes and the schedule they set for implementing common core.

"So, pursuant to this law -- in 2010, BESE engaged in a lengthy engagement process and they approved the common core state standards," said White. "Bottom line, if something is to be passed into rule -- has to be passed into rule through the process that is being discussed -- the law has to obligate. It has to say 'you must do that.' There's no law here. The law does say that BESE and the department must do a bunch of things...and they did them."


(See the lawmaker's petition below):



CIVIL DISTRICT COURT FOR THE PARISH OF EAST BATON ROUGE

STATE OF LOUISIANA

NO.__________ DIVISION____ SECTION: _____

JAMES ARMES, TERRY BROWN, HENRY BURNS, BRETT GEYMANN,

JOHNNY GUINN, LANCE HARRIS, JOE HARRISON, KENNY HAVARD, BOB

HENSGENS, CAMERON HENRY, PAUL HOLLIS, BARRY IVEY, SAM JONES,

ROGERS POPE, DEE RICHARD, JOHN SCHRODER, AND LANAR WHITNEY

(A/K/A CONCERNED CITIZENS OF LOUISIANA)

V.

STATE OF LOUISIANA, THROUGH THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION’S SUPERTINDENDANT, JOHN WHITE, AND THE LOUISIANA

STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

FILED:______________________ ______________________________

DEPUTY CLERK​


PETITION TO SUSPEND IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF

“COMMON CORE” FOR FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE PROVISIONS OF

LOUISIANA LAW, AND FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

NOW INTO COURT, through undersigned counsel, come the Petitioners, James

Armes, Terry Brown, Henry Burns, Brett Geyman, Johnny Guinn, Lance Harris, Joe

Harrison, Kenny Havard, Bob Hensgens, Cameron Henry, Paul Hollis, Barry Ivey, Sam

Jones, Rogers Pope, Dee Richard, John Schroder, and Lanar Whitney (collectively

hereinafter “Concerned Citizens of Louisiana”), who respectfully submit the following

Petition to Suspend Implementation and Enforcement of “Common Core State
Standards” (referred to herein as “Common Core”) for Failure to Follow the Provisions

of Louisiana Law and for Injunctive Relief:

1.

Made defendants herein are:

(A) Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education,

(hereinafter referred to as “BESE”), which is a body corporate

created by the Louisiana Constitution VIII, § 3 and service may be

made at 1201 North Third Street, Suite 5-190, Baton Rouge, LA

70802; and

(B) Mr. John White, in his official capacity as Louisiana

Superintendent of Education for the Louisiana Department of

Education, who may be served at 1201 North Third Street, Baton

Rouge, LA 70802.

2.

Plaintiffs are residents and tax payers of the State of Louisiana. Several plaintiffs

herein have children who are students within the state public school system.

3.

Defendant, BESE, is a body corporate created by the Louisiana Constitution

Article VIII, § 3. BESE is charged with the duty to “supervise and control the public

elementary and secondary schools and special schools under its jurisdiction and shall

have budgetary responsibility for all funds appropriated or allocated by the state for

those schools, all as provided by law.”

Defendant, John White, as the Superintendent of the Louisiana Department of

Education, and in accordance with the Louisiana Constitution Article VIII, § 2, is the

public official charged with the duty of being the administrative head of the Department

of Education, and implementing the policies of the state board of elementary and

secondary education and the laws affecting schools under his jurisdiction.

4.

All defendants herein are required to follow all Louisiana laws with reference

to the adoption and implementation of policies and rules which impact the educational

opportunities of Louisiana Public School children.

5.

Common Core is a set(s) of standards/rules that impact the education of Louisiana

public school children. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is currently set to

replace the Louisiana English and Mathematics Standards/Grade-Level Expectations

(GLEs), which were added to the State’s standards and benchmarks in 2004.

6.

Common Core is set to become fully implemented in Louisiana public schools

during the school year of 2014-15.

7.

On or about May 20, 2010, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and

Secondary Education, in its Board Meeting Minutes, entitled Agenda Item 9-I-5, adopted

a resolution that committed BESE to adopt the controversial Common Core Standards

no later than July 2010.

8.

On or about July 2010, according to BESE’s website, Louisiana “joined with 44

other states and the District of Columbia by adopting the Common Core State

Standards, a set of educational standards developed by a consortium of states to

ensure consistent, quality education from school and from state to state.”

9.

Petitioners fiercely contend that the adoption of these educational standards and/or

the development of rules for the implementation and enforcement of these standards

was, and is, in direct violation of the Louisiana Administrative Procedures Act (LAPA)

Title 49: 953 (3) (b): Procedure for adoption of rules, which reads:

Notice of the proposed rule shall be published at least once in the Louisiana

Register and shall be submitted with a full text of the proposed rule to the

Louisiana Register at least seventy days prior to the date the department proposes

to formally adopt the rule. The Office of the State Register may omit from

the Louisiana Register any such proposed rule the publication of which would

be unduly cumbersome, expensive, or otherwise inexpedient, if the Louisiana

Register contains a notice stating the general subject matter of the omitted

proposed rule, the process being employed by the department for adoption of

the proposed rule, and stating how a copy of the proposed rule may be obtained.

(emphasis added)

10.

Petitioners show that previous changes to educational standards were properly

submitted as “Bulletins” in the Louisiana Register. However, the Louisiana Register fails

to reflect that the “full text” of the proposed rule for adoptions and/or implementation of

the Common Core standards were ever published, as required by law, or a notice of the

general subject matter, as required by the LAPA.

11.

In failing to comply with the Louisiana Administrative Procedures Act Title 49:

953 (3) (b), said Petitioners, and other citizens of Louisiana, were denied their

procedural due process rights to have their comments and concerns heard by

Defendants prior to BESE’s adoption, and BESE’s and/or the Superintendents

implementation and enforcement of the Common Core Standards.

12.

Irreparable harm to children, parents and teachers of children in the State public

schools, and to taxpayers and citizens of the State exists, as the State public school

year is set to begin in approximately one month from the filing of this petition. Unless an

injunction issues herein by the Court, needless time and resources will be expended in

the teaching, testing, learning, and financing of Common Core, all to the detriment of

the citizens of Louisiana.

13.

As a result, Petitioners are requesting this Court to issue an immediate injunction

to suspend the implementation and enforcement of Common Core State Standards for

failure to follow the provisions of Louisiana Law until such required notice is made by

the defendants and for immediate and preliminary injunctive relief during the pendency

of the notice process contemplated under the LAPA.



WHEREFORE, Petitioners, Concerned Citizens of Louisiana, pray that

Defendants be served with a copy of this Petition to Suspend Implementation and

Enforcement of Common Core for Failure to Follow the Provisions of Louisiana Law

and for Temporary Injunctive Relief and be required to timely answer same; and after

due proceedings, that judgment be rendered in Petitioners’ favor and against the

defendants including attorneys’ fees, legal interest from date of judicial demand, and all

just and equitable relief allowed by law.



Respectfully submitted,

BOLEN, PARKER, BRENNER, LEE, &

ENGELSMAN LTD.

A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION

BY:________________________________

Daniel G. Brenner (Bar No. 18136)

Carmella Parker (Bar No. 28462)

P.O. Box 11590

709 Versailles Boulevard 71303

Alexandria, Louisiana 71315-1590

Phone: (318) 445-8236

Facsimile: (318) 443-1770

ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONERS

PLEASE SERVE:

Mr. John White, in his official capacity as Superintendent

Louisiana Department of Education

1201 North Third Street

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802-5243



Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

1201 North Third Street, Suite 5-190

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802



Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell

Office of the Louisiana Attorney General

1885 North Third Street

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802



Ms. Kristy Nichols

Division of Administration

Office of Risk Management

1201 N. 3rd

Floor, Suite 210

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70821-9106



Mr. Bud Thompson

Division of Risk Management

Office of Risk Management

Street Street, Suite G-192

1201 N. 3rd

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802

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