BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Eight lawmakers asked Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday to scrap plans to use tests associated with the Common Core education standards, a proposal that Jindal called "a viable option" if the Legislature won't vote to jettison the tests.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
Efforts to kill the testing — known as the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career, or PARCC — failed in the House Education Committee this session.
But Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, and other lawmakers who signed the letter say Jindal can remove the state from the testing consortium himself. They cited the PARCC agreement and said they have consulted with the attorney general's office and House staff.
"What we have discovered is that, in short, the (memorandum of understanding) is fatally defective. It is incomplete, vague and missing key elements of a legally binding agreement. It likely conflicts with Louisiana's procurement laws. It also appears to be completely unenforceable," Geymann and his colleagues wrote.
Superintendent of Education John White has disagreed that Jindal could opt out of the consortium on behalf of the state.
White told lawmakers last week that shelving the state's use of the testing also would require his approval and the backing of Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. White and Roemer are ardent supporters of Common Core and the associated testing.
Supporters of Common Core and the PARCC testing say they promote critical thinking and raise expectations for students. They say the tests are more rigorous than Louisiana's current slate of standardized tests.
Critics of the tests oppose them as part of an inappropriate, one-size-fits-all model that they say would nationalize education and jeopardize student privacy. Jindal has said he opposes using them.
"We're hopeful that legislation will move through the process this session that will address the concerns of parents or delay implementation until these concerns can be addressed," the Republican governor said in a statement.
He added: "We think this course of action outlined in the legislators' letter remains a very viable option if the Legislature does not act."
The letter to Jindal was signed by Geymann and Reps. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie; Jim Morris, R-Oil City; Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville; Jerome "Dee" Richard, I-Thibodaux; Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs; Barry Ivey, R-Baton Rouge; and Kenny Havard, R-Jackson.