BESE President Roemer Might Have to Sue for the Right to Sue Jindal
So, I thought that there might be more lawsuits to add to the two that were filed on July 21 and 22, one against the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) by 17 lawmakers regarding the slighting of proper procedure for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in July 2010, and one against the governor and Division of Administration (DOA) in an effort to keep Louisiana in CCSS and (especially) its associated consortium-created tests via the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
It appears that it might be the latter.
On July 24, 2014, the Jindal administration denied BESE approval to secure legal representation that could involve BESE’s suing Governor Jindal.
In short, the Jindal administration will not approve counsel for one part of the state to sue another part of he state. As the Times-Picayune reports:
The Jindal administration has said it cannot let the state school board hire an outside lawyer specifically to try and win a legal case against another part of the state government. “The code of ethics prohibits [the state school board] from taking an adverse action against the state,” said Kristy Nichols, the governor’s chief administrator.
So, for what can BESE sue? AP News offers the following clarification:
The education board voted this month to hire a law firm that has agreed to represent it for free. But in a complication, state law has a provision requiring boards that hire outside lawyers to get approval from the attorney general and the governor.
The attorney general’s office approved the contract. It was submitted to Jindal’s Division of Administration this week, though Roemer and Education Superintendent John White question whether such approval was needed. [Emphasis added.]
Of course they do. That’s what led to testing contract suspension– BESE and LDOE’s perception that they are the exception to procedure. Continuing with the AP clarification:
Nichols sent a letter Thursday to White and Roemer, requesting more information and saying she wanted to talk with them about “the intent of contract.”
“As a general minimum guideline, counsel must affirm it is not representing any party in an action adverse to the State,” she wrote. …
In an interview, Nichols said if the education board wants to hire lawyers to clarify issues with contracting law, the Jindal administration would approve the contract. But she said if the intent is to go further and sue the governor, her office won’t approve it. [Emphasis added.]
And so, it seems that BESE President Chas Roemer has decided that “suing for the right to sue” is the course he is prepared to follow. As AP News reports:
“If they want to deny our right to counsel, we’ll be glad to go to court on that issue alone. That’s not right. They act like bullies. They’ve got a long track record of doing so. And we won’t be bullied,” Roemer said. …
“We don’t think [Nichols’] opinion makes any difference in our plans,” Roemer said. “You can sue the king but only if the king approves? I don’t think so.” [Emphasis added.]
Suddenly I am expecting to hear an audience chanting, “Jerry! Jerry!!”
And so, this is where Louisiana education is on July 24, 2014, with BESE preparing to sue for the right to sue the governor.
I wonder if there is something on the books somewhere that might require indignant Roemer to sue for the right to sue for the right to sue….
It’s not a typo.
Meanwhile, also on July 24, White told Louisiana district superintendents that he plans to have a testing plan in place no matter the outcome of the August 4, 2014, hearing scheduled for the pro-CCSS lawsuit against Jindal and DOA. Again from AP News:
Parents and teachers who support Common Core sued Jindal this week, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy in violation of the Louisiana Constitution.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 4. White told school superintendents Thursday that he will have a standardized testing plan for schools within two weeks of whatever decision is handed down at the hearing.
I find it curious that regardless of the August 4th outcome, White says he will have “a standardized testing plan” within two weeks.
Just remember: Having “a plan” is not the same as having the ability to efficiently and effectively institute a competent plan.
Just don’t go accusing White of competence. He and Roemer won’t stand for it.
Stay tuned, Louisiana. The launch of the 2014-15 school year promises to be an adventure.
Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education
NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.