Politics & Policy

Oklahoma’s Common Core Ban Aces Test In Court

State supremes say lawmakers can throw out the controversial standards.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court Wednesday upheld Governor Mary Fallin’s repeal of Common Core standards for English and math

The Sooner State’s high court voted 8 to 1 for Fallin in a lawsuit brought by Common Core supporters.

Attorney Robert McCampbell, who represented parents, teachers, and four members of the seven-member Oklahoma Board of Education in the lawsuit, told Foxnews.com he was “disappointed with the result.” McCampbell’s clients argued that the law violates the separation of powers by allowing the legislative branch to set educational standards. But the state attorney’s argument — that House Bill 3399 follows constitutional provisions giving the legislature broad power to set rules and to supervise the Oklahoma Board of Education — won in court, according to NewsOK.com.

The case was argued about a month before public school students resume classes, Foxnews.com reported. The standards would have gone into effect this school year.

HB 3399 requires the board to revert to educational standards in place before June 2010 and to create new state educational standards by 2016.

Conservatives, House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R., Fairview), cheered the court decision allowing state leaders to reject standards they believe are a federal intrusion into Oklahoma’s public education system.

Some Common Core supporters worry that Oklahoma students will lag behind those in other states because of the repeal. McCampbell held during oral arguments that the repeal marked an “unprecedented expansion” of the legislature’s powers.

Restore Oklahoma Public Education, headed by Jenni White, an outspoken opponent of Common Core, was among the parties filing amicus briefs in this case.

White has criticized the lawsuit for ignoring a constitutional provision that vests lawmakers with the authority to prescribe the powers and duties of the Oklahoma Board of Education.

Petitioners who brought the lawsuit said the legislature overstepped its bounds and infringed upon the state Board of Education’s power to set school standards. With the repeal, legislators can amend, make recommendations, or disapprove of the standards the board has created.

The lawsuit came after the National Association of State Boards of Education sent a letter to Fallin in May alleging similar legal concerns about the repeal bill she was about to sign.

— Celina Durgin is a Franklin Center intern at National Review Online.

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