Our view: Fighting, to the detriment of students

Seventeen lawmakers, including a few from Houma-Thibodaux, on Monday filed a lawsuit in the 19th Judicial District that aims to strike Common Core from public schools.

Considering the timing, we feel it is a reckless, desperate move that amounts to grandstanding.

According to media reports, the suit seeks an injunction against Common Core, not just the controversial related assessment, but the learning standards themselves. The charge is that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education did not follow the Administrative Procedures Act when it adopted the standards for Louisiana’s public schools.

State reps. Joe Harrison, R-Gray; Dee Richard, No Party-Thibodaux; and Lenar Whitney, R-Houma, all ardent Common Core opponents, were among those who signed the suit.

State Superintendent John White released materials to the press Monday afternoon saying that the state was not required to follow the AP Act when enacting learning standards. He and BESE will argue they followed state law that allows them to “supervise and control” public schools and they will point out that the Legislature enshrined the standards in 2012. “There is no legal basis for their claim whatsoever,” White told reporters, including the Associated Press, on Monday.

We do not endorse the standards, and we take no stance as to whether they were properly procured. We understand concerns that national benchmarks can mute local needs and we’re not completely on board with all of the learning techniques such standards bear.

Our lawmakers at their best are a reflection of the people, and many people are not happy with Common Core. However, we expect our elected officials to harbor a little restraint and – what do they call it? – yes, common sense.

Common Core is not the devil. To sacrifice everything in an effort to derail their existing place in Louisiana classrooms is to sacrifice the people Common Core opponents claim to want to protect: Teachers in Terrebonne Parish report on Aug. 6, and Children start school on Aug. 11.

Lesson plans are being written, and, whoa, here’s a lawsuit and, if successful, an injunction. The efforts to derail Common Core failed in the legislative session, where Gov. Bobby Jindal was nowhere to be found, not taking a firm stance when a firm stance could have made a considerable impact. Why wait until now to file suit?

We worry the 2014-15 school year becomes wasted in a pit of uncertainty, a year in which accountability may not be possible because officials can’t agree on how to assess whether whatever standards are ultimately in place are met.

Launching a lawsuit a mere three weeks before school starts, fighting to banish existing expectations on technical grounds, forgetting the collateral damage, these acts are harmful, not helpful.