BATON ROUGE, La. – Gov. Bobby Jindal's effort to derail Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards was halted Tuesday by a state judge who said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students.
Judge Todd Hernandez lifted Jindal's suspension of contracts the education department planned to use to buy testing material aligned with the multistate standards.
In his written ruling, Hernandez said the Jindal administration didn't produce any evidence to support the governor's claims that Education Superintendent John White and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE, violated state contracting law.
The contract suspension stalled standardized testing plans for Louisiana public school students in third through eighth grade. Hernandez noted that fourth-grade students must pass a standardized test in order to be promoted to the next grade.
"The loss of time is irreparable. With each passing day teachers and parents lose time preparing students for high stake testing, and there is a lot riding on the student's successful performance on these tests," Hernandez wrote.
Jindal Chief of Staff Kyle Plotkin said the governor will appeal Hernandez's ruling, calling it "wrong on the facts and the law."
"The judge took the arguments from Common Core proponents hook, line and sinker," Plotkin said in a statement. "The Superintendent and BESE President are creating hysteria about one test that is several months away."
The Common Core standards are math and English benchmarks describing what students should know after completing each grade. More than 40 states have adopted them.
Parents, teachers and a charter school organization sued Jindal after he suspended the testing contracts, alleging he violated constitutional separations of authority over education policy. The state education board joined in the suit.
The Jindal administration says the governor exercised his legal authority over state contracting and did nothing improper.
The governor said the education department and BESE didn't properly follow Louisiana's procurement law and needed to seek competitive bids for the contract. But he also acknowledged he took the action to undermine Common Core.
Jindal once supported Common Core as improving student preparation for college and careers. But the governor now opposes the standards as an effort by President Barack Obama's administration to meddle in state education policy.
White and a majority of BESE members still support Common Core, and state lawmakers also have refused to stop use of the standards.