August 20, 2022

National Association of State Boards of Education Sues OK Over Common Core Repeal

The Common Core is not simply a set of educational standards. With the initiative came an affirmation of the power of state boards of education, blessed by the U.S. Education Department, just as that of local school boards was diminished.

In Oklahoma, where Gov. Mary Fallin (R), recently repealed the controversial nationalized standards, petitioners organized by the National Associations of State Boards of Education (NASBE) have sued, arguing that the repeal of the Common Core standards is unconstitutional under Oklahoma state law.

Celina Durgin at National Review Online explains:

The plaintiffs take issue with a provision in House Bill 3399 allowing the state legislature to be involved in drafting new standards to replace Common Core, a power they argue belongs to the Oklahoma state Board of Education. The bill’s proponents say its repeal is consistent with the precedent that let the Oklahoma legislature adopt Common Core standards in the first place in 2010.

Jenni White, organizer of Restore Oklahoma Public Education (R.O.P.E.) writes at the group’s website, “The lawsuit alleges that the legislature is encroaching on the right of the state school board to supervise instruction in public schools by allowing the legislature to review and modify state educational standards if that is deemed necessary by the citizens of Oklahoma.”

White writes that the allegation is “ridiculous” because the Oklahoma state legislature had to pass the adoption of the Common Core standards even before they had been released. She asserts the state constitution not only allows for, but requires the state legislature to review new standards.

“The supervision of instruction in the public schools shall be vested in a Board of Education, whose powers and duties shall be prescribed by law,” reads the Oklahoma constitution.

White also asserts that there is no law that states only the state school board can oversee standards.

According to NRO, the plaintiffs’ attorney, former state attorney general Robert McCampbell, and petitioner Amy Anne Ford, a member of the Oklahoma BOE, explain they are not so much concerned with Common Core as they are with the bill’s provision for what McCampbell describes as “excessive involvement” of the state legislature.

McCampbell said Oklahoma’s Common Core repeal bill is unconstitutional because involvement by the state legislature with new standards would encroach upon the state BOE’s constitutional authority and would violate the separation of powers.

State Representative Jason Nelson (R), however, who authored HB 3399, asserts that the lawsuit is yet another attempt to impose Common Core on the state, and that the repeal bill is constitutional.

NASBE has received nearly $2 million in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the primary source of private funding for the Common Core standards. The organization received $1,077,960 in February of 2011 “to build the capacity of State Boards of Education to better position them to achieve full implementation of the Common Core standards.” NASBE also received $800,000 in June of 2013 “to support a development plan for the organization and its efforts to provide training and information to implement Common Core state Standards.”

“NASBE clearly had an interest in opposing the bill before it had the provisions they’re currently objecting to,” Nelson told NRO.

Ford, however, told NRO that the state legislature lacks the authority and the knowledge to review and possibly amend the standards the BOE develops.

The involvement of the state legislature “makes the development of standards very political, and I don’t like that,” Ford said.

In an email statement to Breitbart News, White said that at the state school board meeting Thursday, “the board members tabled every single item on the agenda that had to do with creating the new standards.”

“The board is appointed by the Governor and serve at her pleasure – according to the law that was created under our current superintendent, who was ousted in the worst showing of an incumbent in an election in recorded history,” said White. “None of them have education background. None.”

White said her group is working on an amicus brief with a local attorney, but the law firm bringing the suit is asking it to be expedited for a hearing July 14 on the grounds it is necessary for the beginning of the school year.