Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, on Common Core
Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, on Common Core:
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office picked a fight with Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education over Common Core academic standards — and now the administration is making it difficult for the board to defend itself.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell gave BESE approval to hire outside lawyers for a potential legal fight with the Jindal administration over Common Core testing. Baton Rouge attorney Philip Preis agreed to represent the board at no charge.
But the legal contract was required to go through the Jindal administration, and the governor’s office is refusing to approve it. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said the state code of ethics prohibits BESE from “taking an adverse action against the state.”
BESE president Chas Roemer said he doesn’t think the administration can forbid the suit.
“It’s unconstitutional to say you can sue the king, but only with the king’s approval,” Mr. Roemer said.
Nichols raised other questions about the proposed legal contract, but Mr. Roemer easily dismissed them.
“Many of the concerns raised in your letter regarding a contract between BESE and outside legal counsel are provisions that are identical to those in existing contracts for outside legal counsel,” Mr. Roemer said in a written response to Ms. Nichols. He noted that those other contracts between BESE and outside lawyers included the Faircloth Law Group.
That raises a question the administration needs to answer: Does Jimmy Faircloth have a conflict? How can he handle any cases for BESE and defend Gov. Jindal in a lawsuit over Common Core filed by parents and teachers last week. Mr. Faircloth isn’t likely to work for free, either. How much is the public paying him and what are the terms?
Gov. Jindal, who once was a fan of Common Core, now is intent on derailing the standards. He specifically wants to stop BESE from buying the multistate test developed for Common Core that will allow state-to-state comparisons of student achievement.
And he has shown that he will use his office in any way he can to interfere.
As the Public Affairs Research Council said last week: “The governor regularly criticizes the federal government for this type of executive over-reach.”
But Gov. Jindal has presidential ambitions, and he has decided that being anti-Common Core is best for his political future. The Common Core standards and the multistate test have become a lightning rod for some conservative groups.