Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is suing the United States Department of Education and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, Jindal argues the federal government coerced states into adopting the Common Core standards.
The Department of Education made about $4 billion available to states through “Race to the Top” grants and provided waivers from the No Child Left Behind law as an incentive to adopt Common Core standards. Such incentives were tantamount to coercion through funding, Jindal is arguing.
The suit also says the Department of Education changed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to push states into adopting the federal government’s preferred test or risk losing federal money.
“The federal government has hijacked and destroyed the Common Core initiative,” Jindal said in a statement. “Common Core is the latest effort by big government disciples to strip away state rights and put Washington, D.C. in control of everything. What started out as an innovative idea to create a set of base-line standards that could be ‘voluntarily’ used by the states has turned into a scheme by the federal government to nationalize curriculum.”
You can read Jindal’s filing HERE.
The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers developed Common Core. The standards were initially adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia – though several states have either repealed or begun the process of repealing Common Core.
On radio this morning, Buck Sexton filled in for Glenn and compared the “coercion” tactics used by the federal government to get Common Core enacted to those employed during the Obamacare debate.
“What's interesting to me about this latest pushback – which is coming from Louisiana – is that it is a symptom of a larger problem as well,” Buck said. “I don't just mean a larger problem with Common Core or education, but the federal government essentially making states offers that they can't refuse.”
Though the Affordable Care Act as a whole was upheld in the Supreme Court, one area in which the federal government ‘lost’ was when it came to dictating what states can and cannot be forced to do.
“When they went up to the Supreme Court for that terrible 4-5 decision… there was one minor area… where Obamacare lost. And that was on exactly this same idea of the federal government coercing states to do federal bidding on state matters by attaching federal dollars to it – not just attaching federal dollars, threatening to pull federal dollars. That's a critical distinction.
What they wanted to do under the original language of Obamacare was tell states, ‘Expand Medicaid, and we'll pay a percentage of your state Medicaid costs. If you don't do that though… we're going to pull all of your federal Medicaid funding.’
Now, is that fair?
Well the Supreme Court ruled correctly – at least on this issue – because, very clearly, one, that seems to infringe upon the rights of the states. But on top of that as well, there was a very unseemly precedent and that was: The federal government could push states, over a period of time, to adopt certain programs with the understanding, whether it was through successive administrations or as a matter of pure legislation, that the feds are going to kick some dollars in too.
Well, of course, that changes the political reality on the ground. All of a sudden, you've got one guy saying, ‘You're not even going to pay for this free stuff I'm giving you. Vote for me because I'm taking money from D.C.’ You've got another guy who says, ‘Oh, no. I, sir, stand on principle and will not take federal dollars for a state program.’”
“Back to Common Core here, Governor Jindal is challenging on similar grounds,” Buck concluded. “What he's saying is, ‘It shouldn't be the case that if states… don't want to adopt the Common Core curriculum, they should not be penalized by having their federal education dollars taken away.’”
Front page image courtesy of the AP