Full Supreme Court To Hear Common Core Challenge

Jul 8, 2014

The full Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of a new law that repealed Oklahoma's adoption of the Common Core curriculum standards and requires the state Board of Education to draft new standards that the Legislature would have the power to change as it sees fit.

Oklahoma's Supreme Court Justices
Credit Oklahoma State Courts Network

The lawsuit was filed by a group of parents, teachers and members of the State Board of Education. The group's petition alleges that HB3399 is unconstitutional because of several reasons. The allegations are that the Oklahoma Constitution vests the State Board of Education with authority over the "supervision of instruction in the public schools" and that the Legislature has inserted itself into the legislation, and that the law violates the principal of separation of powers.

The suit originally was scheduled to be heard by a Supreme Court referee but that was changed to oral arguments before the full court. The hearing will be held July 15 in the Supreme Court's State Capitol courtroom.

State Board of Education members listed as plaintiffs include: Leo Baxter, Amy Anne Ford, William Shdeed and Daniel Keating. As a result of their inclusion in the suit, the State Board of Education delayed some decisions regarding its implementation of the law during its June 26 meeting.

"Until a ruling is made, the law is the law and we have an obligation to uphold the law even if the constitutionality is being questioned at this moment," said Baxter. "I want that on the record before casting a vote. This is not an endorsement or not an endorsement of anything. It is only me reacting to what is public law."

After being told action was not necessary today, members backtracked and moved to table the item. The amended motion was unanimously approved as were the motions to table the termination of the department's contract with Measured Progress, the testing vendor for its Common Core-aligned exams in the two contested subject matters. Also tabled was an emergency revocation of board rules related to Common Core and a draft of a course of action plan for development and implementation of new standards.