Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Lawsuit Challenges Common Core Repeal Measure

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Lawsuit Challenges Common Core Repeal Measure

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of parents, teachers and members of the state Board of Education filed a lawsuit with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 3399, which repealed the Common Core education standards and requires development of new standards over the next couple of years.

Attorney Robert McCampbell said the bill is unconstitutional because it provides for excessive legislative involvement in drafting the new subject matter standards that would replace Common Core.

Defendants include the state, Senate president pro tempore, House speaker and state Department of Education.

"This is important for everyone in our state," McCampbell said in a written statement. "Our children should be taught under classroom standards that are adopted in accordance with the requirements of the Oklahoma Constitution."

In his brief to the court, McCampbell said the bill empowers the Legislature to approve or disapprove the new standards in whole or in part and provide instructions to the board.

In addition to deleting the Common Core standards from the statute books, HB 3399 requires the adoption of Oklahoma-focused English and math standards. While those are being developed, the system will revert to the previous Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills, or PASS, standards.

McCampbell said that under language in the Oklahoma Constitution, the education board is vested with authority over the supervision of instruction in the public schools.

He also said the measure violates the separation of powers by giving the Legislature a controlling influence over the work of the board, which is an executive branch agency.

The petitioners concede that the Legislature has the authority to repeal Common Core.

But McCampbell said HB 3399 goes beyond setting policy and would involve the Legislature in administering what would happen in the classroom by giving it control over the drafting of the new standards.

The measure was the last bill signed by Gov. Mary Fallin following a legislative session in which criticism of Common Core was a key issue.

Fallin said the very phrase "common core" had become tainted and was a divisive issue that raised widespread concern. …

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