Oklahoma school board members file suit to stop Common Core repeal

June 26, 2014

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Restore Oklahoma Public Education was formed in 2008 as a public education watchdog. Since 2010, ROPE has concentrated on educating parents and legislators about the Common Core State Standards and the loss of student privacy occurring with federally subsidized State Longitudinal Database Systems.

OKLAHOMA CITY – I told you in May that the national Associations of State Boards of Education (NASBE) had sent a letter to Governor Mary Fallin explaining they would sue Oklahoma over the Constitutionality of having the state legislature sign off on the standards.

common_coreI poo-pooed the whole letter as nonsense – how in the world could NASBE – an out of state lobbying organization have standing in Oklahoma to sue us over a law our own legislature passed?

Well, apparently they didn’t, so they got Oklahomans as Plantiffs and had them file a lawsuit.  Here are the willing accomplices:  Heather sparks, teacher of the year, Leo Baxter, Amy Anne Ford, William F. Shdeed and Daniel Keating, Oklahoma State School Board members.  Also Nancy Kunsman, Elizabeth Luecke, Leonardo DeAndrade (doesn’t he drive formula one race cars?), Mara Novy and Charles Edward Pack, II.  I don’t know anything about the last two – apparently they are either teachers or parents as described by some of the recent news stories about this.

This is the Section with which they are alleging HB3399 conflicts:

Section XIII-5: Board of Education.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. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall be President of the Board. Until otherwise provided by law, the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General shall be ex-officio members, and with the Superintendent, compose said Board of Education.

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.  Let’s review a few reasons this is ridiculous.

  • What did the legislature do when they passed SB2033 in 2010? That was two whole sets of standards passed together before they were even in finalized form. So it was ok for the legislature then and not now?
  • Where does it actually say that only the state school board can oversee standards?
  • The way I understand it, the legislature can already vote down the rules the state board makes to accept the standards in the first place, basically negating the standards – we just did that with the National Science Standards re-named Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science.

 

Here are a few other observations:

  • Isn’t it interesting our own state board members are filing this suit?
  • Isn’t it interesting they are appointed by Mary Fallin – current chair of the NGA?
  • Isn’t it interesting this lawsuit would be filed the day after the historic election in which Janet Barresi – the incumbent, the Chairman of the Board and a Common Core proponent – came in dead last in a primary?

 

Does anyone wonder here whether Governor Fallin signed the bill knowing they were going to bring action against it, hoping to stop the oversight process and therefore slip Common Core back into the standards?

Yes, these are all fascinating questions upon which to ruminate.  Sadly, they all make some kind of sense in a statist, sour grapes kind of way!  The Board were Barresi supporters.  Why?  Because Governor Fallin is a Barresi supporter.  The Board serves at the pleasure of the Governor, therefore the Board does as the Governor – NOT THE PEOPLE – wishes.

Here’s another gem: The filing attorneys are saying the lawsuit must be heard quickly because school starts in several months and it will create havoc for schools and teachers if it’s not promptly heard. That’s GARBAGE! This particular issue doesn’t even apply until the standards are re-written and that can take up to two years.  Teachers are not going to be inconvenienced if this lawsuit isn’t settled before school begins in the fall.  It has nothing to do with the standards themselves, just the process of completing them.  We’ve gone back to PASS and nothing will change that now until new standards are written.  You know lawsuits are full of garbage and hot air when they affix so much unnecessary drama to them.

It’s awfully fun to point out here that our Oklahoma Constitution SPECIFIES that Oklahoma will only provide an education to children until they are 16.  Why aren’t high school parents suing for warehousing their kids until their 18 or older?  Kids, you don’t have to attend public school once you turn 16!  Make sure to tell your principal and superintendent you’ll sue them if they call you in truant after that time.

Not only that, but Pre-K and Kindergarten HAVE TO GO!  Until your child is 8 years old, the state cannot educate them!  We need to go back and remove all that money we’re spending on Pre-K.  That will be an outstanding way to free up some extra cash for teachers and classrooms!

But wait!  The state doesn’t have to provide Special Education classes either.  How about if taxpayers begin to sue the state for using taxpayer money to fund Special Education classes?  I think that’s a grand idea!  I’m with the state school board!  Let’s follow the Constitution!  Let’s just play this game all the way out.

Section XIII-4: Compulsory school attendance. The Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year.

I think ROPE should go on a campaign to make parents aware of the Constitution immediately.  Thanks for the idea of sticking to the state Constitution Fellers/Snider/Blankenship/Bailey and Tippens law firm!  Too bad our points are actually spelled out in the text of the document and yours are contrived to make a point and stymie parents that were simply trying to make their voices heard on behalf of their children and families.

 

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