Oklahoma Common Core Repeal Found Constitutional

Oklahoma Common Core Repeal Found Constitutional
July 16, 2014

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)

School Choice Weekly #45

With an 8–1 decision on Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rebuffed a lawsuit the state board of education had filed against the legislature. The board of education argued the legislature has no constitutional right to determine public school curriculum and tests. Four hours after oral arguments, the court ruled that as it is: Preposterous.

For one, in 2010 the board made no objection to legislators deciding curriculum mandates when the legislature passed Common Core into law. For another, the Oklahoma Constitution says the board’s “powers and duties shall be prescribed by law.” If the legislature doesn’t decide those laws, it’s an utter mystery from whence the state board’s powers descend.

So the legal arguments in this case are far less interesting than what it reveals: the latest block in a pattern occurring across this country of unelected bureaucrats versus the people they rule but are supposed to serve. The Oklahoma board of education found it a better use of its time to sue the legislature for doing its job than to salute its masters’ representatives and march forward in obedience. The board sued as an excuse to avoid following the law, not because the law was truly itself illegitimate. In short, lawlessness is not limited to the Obama administration. It is endemic to any bureaucracy confronted with a demand that counters the bureaucracy’s self-interest.

The lawsuit casts suspicion over how the board will handle being forced to carry out the same orders it attempted to refuse. The people of Indiana found what happened when they were put into a similar situation this spring: new mandates, same as the old mandates, with a spritz of press releases and new acronyms.

This means two things. First, the fight against Common Core is not merely a fight over one set of coercive, academically impoverished curriculum mandates and tests. It is a fight over who gets to control education: parents or over-credentialed, underqualified “experts.” Second, if Common Core goes away, but the bureaucracy doesn’t, Common Core didn’t really go away.

SOURCES: Jenni White, Associated Press


School Choice Roundup

Common Core Watch

  • NORTH CAROLINA: The Senate passes a bill that would repeal Common Core but allow its replacement to retain some of its curriculum mandates. The House is expected to pass the bill, having already passed one that would have banned any use of Common Core.

Education Today

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Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)