BATON ROUGE - The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 6-3 Tuesday to hire an attorney to help them deal with the political firefight that's erupted over Common Core in Louisiana.
However, the board said the attorney would not file suit against Gov. Bobby Jindal without first coming to the full board.
During Tuesday's lengthy hearing BESE President Chas Roemer and state Superintendent John White stressed that hiring a legal counsel would give them clarification over how to proceed in the face of the governor's opposition to Common Core.
Jindal is strong in his newfound opposition to the state participating in Common Core, making executive orders that would remove the PARCC test adopted by the state for students to take in the spring. The governor initially supported the standards but joined a recent swell of conservative opposition, saying he opposed the new standards because they represented the federal government's intrusion on state education standards. The federal government had nothing to do with the creation or implementation of Common Core, which originated from the National Governor's Association and was developed in conjunction with a number of states.
White and Roemer made it clear during Tuesday's meeting they would not back down in support of Common Core, saying that the state is committed and it's too late to turn back now.
"It's clear we have roles and responsibilities confusion," White said. "Probably the Constitution plays a role, certainly the law instructs the board to do something, but also the contracts have a role... So need, in our opinion, for some sorting out of who's role it is to make what decision."
The board also voted down a motion to use the same state tests from last year. They instructed White to reach a compromise with Jindal over which tests and materials schools should use starting this fall.
A group of parents and business advocates also held a press conference ahead of the BESE meeting to voice their support for Common Core.