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Parents, teachers, education board members ask Oklahoma state Supreme Court to throw out repeal of Common Core

A petition filed with Oklahoma Supreme Court contends a law repealing Common Core standards is unconstitutional.
by Rick Green Published: June 26, 2014

Parents, teachers and members of the Oklahoma Board of Education asked the state Supreme Court Wednesday to throw out a law repealing Common Core academic standards.

They allege in a petition filed with the court that a bill signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin on June 5 is unconstitutional because it gives the Legislature too much power to come up with a new set of benchmarks to replace the rigorous math and English standards in Oklahoma schools.

Under House Bill 3399, the state Board of Education would draft new standards, but the Legislature would have the power to change those standards as it sees fit.

This encroaches on the constitutional authority of the board and violates the constitutional principal of separation of powers, the petition says.

“This suit does not contend that the Legislature can have no role in education,” said Robert G. McCampbell, the attorney who filed the legal action. “The policy for schools in Oklahoma is an appropriate role for the Legislature.

“For example, the petitioners concede that the Legislature has the constitutional authority to repeal Common Core. House Bill 3399, however, goes beyond setting policy and would have the Legislature involved in actually administering what would be happening inside Oklahoma classrooms by having the Legislature control the drafting of the subject matter standards.”

He said this goes well beyond the making of legislative policy and potentially delves into such things as whether first-graders will be taught the value of various coins, what year students will be taught cursive handwriting and whether second-grade math students should be taught decimal notation.

Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Fallin, said she hopes the court could provide clarity on the legislative review portion of the law, without affecting the main section of the law repealing Common Core.

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