The Thomas More Law Center has filed the challenge to Common Core and the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) against Gov. Daugaard, Dr. Melody Schopp, the South Dakota Department of Education and the South Dakota Board of Education, on behalf of two South Dakota parents.
These Plaintiffs seek to stop South Dakota from paying yearly SBAC membership fees totaling over $600,000 by state taxpayers on the grounds that SBAC is an unconstitutional compact. Its creation was never approved by Congress, as required by the Compact Clause, which states that “[n]o state shall, without the consent of Congress . . . enter into any agreement or compact with another state.” The lawsuit claims other violations of federal and South Dakota laws dealing with public education.
Shelli Grinager, a West River plaintiff, and Amber Mauricio, an East River plaintiff, have both seen their school aged children break down in tears due to the amount of pressure that teachers and schools were subjecting them to in the name of passing the SBAC tests.
Grinager, a former school board member, PTA president and advocate for students and families, has fought against Common Core since the beginning, speaking out against the roll out of the high pressure SBAC tests. Last year, Grinager was forced to start homeschooling her children, after two of her children were denied more challenging math because they had to stick to the rigid Common Core curriculum. She said, “The public school environment has become more about testing our children than teaching them.” (added emphasis is mine)
Amber Mauricio’s fight against Common Core began when she attempted to “opt out” her children from the SBAC testing. The school ignored her opt out request and tested her children anyway. Mauricio was alarmed by the nature of some Common Core aligned questions asked of her children which sought to examine how they would behave in certain situations and what their home life is like. (added emphasis is mine)
In school districts across the country, administrators subject children, who obey their parents’ wishes and decline to participate in Common Core standardized testing, to unbelievable punishments. Students have been suspended, refused entrance into their classrooms, refused bathroom privileges, stripped of their academic and extracurricular honors and awards, removed from athletic participation, and punished with “sit-and-stare” policies. “Sit-and-stare” is a practice that forces students to sit at their assigned desk with no materials, books, or paper in silence for multiple hours during testing.
Continue reading at Thomas More Law Center.
In South Dakota children have been subjected to many of the above listed punishments, as well as high school juniors have been told that if they do not participate in and do well on the SBAC, they will not receive senior privileges.
You can find the Test Refusal and Student Privacy Protection Form here.
You can read the full text of the complaint here.
I will be posting more thoughts on this lawsuit, the Blue Ribbon Task Force, the legislature, the Department of Education and the current administration.