The Common Core Case

CTA_donateThe Common Core Case is a taxpayer lawsuit against the Governor, State Superintendent of Schools and President of the State School Board, as members of the Executive branch of the State of Idaho. The suit seeks a declaratory judgment and injunction preventing the State of Idaho from continuing to pay membership and student assessment testing fees to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, (SBAC), and requiring the State of Idaho to withdraw from SBAC, on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional compact between States, in violation of Article I, §10 of the U.S. Constitution. The expenditure of Idaho taxpayer funds in support of that entity therefore constitutes an illegal use of those funds under Article I, §3 of the Idaho Constitution.

The lawsuit is grounded in several parts of the Constitution. The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of parents to direct and control the care, custody and education of their children. Historically, administration of elementary and secondary schools, including decision making as to curriculum, has been reserved to the States.

In the legislation creating the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Congress specifically prohibited that agency from involvement in the decision-making process of parents and State and local governments in the administration and curriculums of elementary and secondary education within a State’s borders. In legislation spanning 50 years, Congress has repeatedly stated that the Federal Government does not have a proper role in determining curriculums or in the administration of state and local school systems.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (“ESEA”), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (“NCLB”), 20 U.S.C. §§ 6301 et. seq., provides that:

“[n]othing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, or control a State or local education agency, or school’s curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of State or local resources.” 20 U.S.C. § 7907(a).

In 2009, when $4.35 billion in stimulus money was made available to the U.S. Dept. of Education, bureaucrats in that agency formed a plan to side-step Congress’ prohibition on interference with State control of public schools, by making the States do their bidding. The Dept. did so by conditioning a States’ receipt of education grant money under the Race to the Top program (RTTT) to the State’s agreement to join a consortium of states and adopt the Common Core Standards.

common core screenshotThe Dept. of Education offered RTTT grants to the States on the condition that the States band together as a “consortium” with the agreement that they would adopt uniform national educational standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, i.e. the Common Core.

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