By Danette Clark
In a special meeting on Tuesday morning, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 6 to 4 to sue Governor Bobby Jindal for attempting to remove the state from Common Core and PARCC testing.
BESE will join a lawsuit against the Governor filed last week by seven parents, two teachers, and a New Orleans charter group. The suit currently claims Jindal has overstepped his authority by going over BESE’s head.
Superintendent John White and several members of the BESE board, who support Common Core despite wide spread public opposition, have posed this same question in open meetings in recent weeks — who ultimately holds constitutional authority over state education matters, the Governor or the State Board of Education?
BESE President Chas Roemer says the board is “trying to retain their constitutional authority over education”.
As a Louisiana resident and one of many parents fed up with being either completely ignored or ridiculed by the powers-that-be because we oppose Common Core, I would like to comment and ask this constitutional question of BESE — who the hell do you think you are? And I mean that quite literally. Who are you?
Your very existence was made necessary by the United States Constitution and is defined by the Louisiana State Constitution as a body created to develop, implement, and maintain (in accordance with Louisiana law) educational policy at the local level.
Your reason for being is to manage and maintain education within the state so that the constitutional and God-given rights of Louisiana parents to have a say in their children’s educational future is preserved and protected.
As shown again and again, from state to state to state, the Common Core State Standards Initiative — by definition as a national standard and living document (to be revised), with NCLB waivers attached, and contracted by an MOU that recklessly and boldly acknowledges the federal government’s intent to change education laws as it sees fit — is a gross federal intrusion into the educational lives of Louisiana children and the affairs of local government.
Therefore, BESE and Superintendent White, it seems you have failed miserably in your core constitutional duty to the people of Louisiana by willingly relinquishing your authority to the federal government and outside interests.
To the few BESE members siding with the people — Walter Lee, Lottie Beebe, Carolyn Hill, and Jane Smith — thank you for your brave efforts. They will not be forgotten.
As I stated here and will reiterate (and ask others opposed to this vicious initiative to please do the same), there are thousands of us in Louisiana who have done our homework and remain dedicated to winning this crucial battle for our children. We know the responsibilities and duties of our local officials to the people of this state, and we fully intend to hold them accountable for failing in those duties and failing our children.
Perhaps its time for parents to consider joining in a lawsuit of their own.