From time to time Kentucky Tea Party activist David Adams takes a break from trying to shut down the government and obsessing over poor Kentuckians access to healthcare and wanders into my area of interest - public education. Last week, David announced on Facebook that he had filed suit against the state of Kentucky over Common Core arguing that the state's adoption of standards before they were finalized constituted an unconstitutional mismanagement of the schools. Ha!
We had a little exchange.
- Richard Day Wow. Talk about frivolous crap clogging the court system! This is a pristine example. You may want to at least read SB 1 where the General Assembly took affirmative action opening the door for Common Core. Are you planning to argue that the legislature can't pass laws governing curriculum? This lawsuit is going nowhere, Don Quixote.
- Richard Day Denise, If that makes you feel better, fine. I never read David's healthcare effort and don't have an opinion on it. But sometimes you fight the good fight, and move on. I get that...and even appreciate that. But if this suit is indicative of the quality of suits being brought by David...well, it's just embarrassing. It's a poorly conceived suit. Betcha a nickel it goes nowhere.
- Richard Day Give me a break. The record clearly shows that while the draft was not "final," the department knew very well what was in it. And the Commissioner, who serves on the Chief State School Officers Board for goodness sake, should have been an indispensable party, but you left him out for some reason. The mismanagement discussion in Rose v Council was fiscal - it's a school finance case afterall, and you should know that. You seem to be trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. If that's what you want to do, so be it. But please, be a man and don't whine when the effort falls flat.
- Richard Day The fiscal implications are no different from any other curriculum the state might adopt - except that if Kentucky had tried to build its own internationally benchmarked curriculum with college and career ready standards, also permissible under SB1, it would have likely been much more expensive and taken much longer to create. When was I not interested in public school issues, or more particularly, the Rose case?
- Richard Day David: Perhaps, but it doesn't mater what I think about CCSS. The authority rests with the elected General Assembly and they get to choose. As you know, the US Constitution makes education a province of the states (many more debatable points exist here). If the states have the power to control education, they also have the power to throw in together and cooperate in grants, multi-state programs, or in this case, multi-state curriculum development (which was a Republican idea to begin with). The state constitution makes the General Assembly responsible. The General Assembly didn't direct the state to adopt the Massachusetts curriculum. Instead they approved a Republican sponsored bill that called for a particular type of curriculum, and the state agencies zealously went to work on it. Now, three years later, you have suddenly become interested...following the RNC's lead I might add. One might argue that your action here, as elsewhere, is explicitly political. According to your tortured logic, if your suit is construed as political - is it therefore unconstitutional? We both know that your suit won't be thrown out because it's political. There are several other reasons the court might choose...beginning with standing.
- David Adams A suggestion. And one I wish you would seriously consider. Volumes have been written about both taxpayer standing in Kentucky courts and legislative responsibilities in carrying out their duties. You are unaware of these things, as your continued typing demonstrates.
- Richard Day Tell you what...you selected the venue. And I'm satisfied to let the court decide. Let's see who turns out to be correct. In the meantime, I'll take your advice, and as time permits, I'll track your progress on Kentucky School News and Commentary. tap tap tap tap tap
- Richard Day Boy, I'm sure that's true.Choosing plaintiffs is a crucial part of structuring a constitutional case. The choice has to satisfy certain legal requirements. Specifically, one must identify individuals who have been damaged according to the evidence that would be presented at trial. When Bert Combs brought his suit against the state in Rose, he wanted plaintiffs that very clearly had a complaint, people who were being prejudiced - damaged, by the state’s failure to provide an efficient system of schools. He properly concluded that the students were the real plaintiffs - they were the individuals who were being injured by reason of an inadequate school system. Combs selected children who were being discriminated against and parents of those children who were willing to have their names used as parents of injured children. The defense did knock out a few because some of them didn't testify. Opposing counsel said that if they didn't testify that they had abandoned the suit. Combs focused on the students, telling the court “Well, here's a child, 8yrs old, Jimmy Duff. Has Jimmy Duff done anything? Has he stolen any money? Has he exercised any poor management? He is the plaintiff.” Combs found 19 children and sued in their names “all respectively by their parents as next friends.”
Your choice to sue with the language “David Adams is a taxpayer and citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and parent of two students in Jessamine County Schools” makes you the plaintiff, not your children and would seem to open the door to an easy rejection if the court is so inclined.about a minute ago · Like
This from StateEdWatch:
Common Core Faces Kentucky Legal Challenge, Questions About 'Rebranding'The first potential kink is a relatively straightforward one: A political activist, David Adams, has filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the common core in Kentucky. What's his argument? He essentially says that the Kentucky Legislature has failed to fulfill its obligation under the state constitution to ensure an "efficient system of common schools" and to make sure those schools are operated "without waste, duplication, mismanagement or political influence." The Kentucky state school board officially adopted the standards in June 2010. But because state officials and others announced that they would be adopting the standards before they were finalized, Adams told me, they not only jumped the gun, but also crossed the line into some form of mismanagement or malign political influence.Adams is president of Kentucky Citizens Judicial, a group whose mission is to challenge state government in court. I asked him how he would get around the fact that the Kentucky state board, not the legislature, is responsible for adopting standards. He responded that this doesn't negate state lawmakers' job overseeing K-12: "They're still responsible to see that this is done in an efficient manner."When I asked Kentucky education commissioner Terry Holliday about this suit at a meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Richmond, Va., on Nov. 15, he was dismissive. He said that the Kentucky legislature has overseen how common core is working in the state very closely, and approved the correct regulations governing the standards."My attorneys tell me it's very confusing," Holliday said of Adams' lawsuit.Let's leave the lawsuit aside and talk about a different issue that's related to the common core. During a panel discussion about effectively communicating to the public and to schools about common core, Holliday bemoaned the meager state of his schools' budgets. Teachers in his state, for example, have gone five years without pay raises, Holliday said. When I subsequently asked him whether he thought schools' dire financial straits might negatively impact common core in Kentucky, he responded that he thought other aspects of public schools would be affected, but not the standards. But it seems fair to wonder if common-core implementation, which is such a major priority and challenge for many states, might be harmed by the sluggish economic and fiscal climate state and local officials are still dealing with.Common core, you probably won't be surprised to hear, dominated the CCSSO policy meeting last week. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, when thinking about how the public at large is perceiving the standards, seemed to be of two minds.On the one hand, Duncan seemed to blame some of the negative reaction to the standards on a specific group of privileged parents, in remarks that have gotten a lot of attention from the press: "It's fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from white suburban moms who all of the sudden my child is not as brilliant as I thought they were and their school not as good ... that can be a punch in the gut."