Delegate’s Common Core lawsuit dismissed by Supreme Court
By Samuel Speciale, Education Reporter, Charleston Gazette-Mail
The West Virginia Supreme Court has denied one lawmaker’s attempt to end the state Department of Education’s use of Common Core and its standardized testing for students.
Last week, the court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Delegate Michael Folk, R-Berkeley, who alleged the state Board of Education is violating state law and the U.S. Constitution by using Common Core, a set of math and English standards adopted by 46 states.
“The court is of the opinion that a rule should not be awarded, and the writ prayed for by the petitioner is hereby refused,” the dismissal says.
In July, Folk asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue, claiming the adoption of Common Core entered West Virginia into an interstate compact, an agreement between two or more states that requires congressional approval.
Folk filed a similar lawsuit earlier this year in Berkeley Circuit Court, in which he named Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state Superintendent Michael Martirano, among others, as defendants. That lawsuit was deemed “procedurally deficient and substantively ill-conceived” by one of Tomblin’s attorneys.
Folk voluntarily withdrew that complaint in June before filing the second one. Fellow Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, served as counsel on Folk’s second lawsuit.
Attorneys representing the state school board asked the Supreme Court last month to dismiss the case, alleging the lawsuit was nothing more than a political stunt, calling his claim that Common Core violates the Constitution “dead wrong.”
That motion claimed the policy argument Folk presents is one the court cannot and should not take up and that it ignores the school board’s constitutional authority to enact education policy free of legislative interference. It also said Folk did not notify the school board or Department of Education officials he would be suing them. State code requires a complaining party to contact a state agency’s chief officer at least 30 days before filing a lawsuit
.Folk later filed a response opposing the motion to dismiss.
An attorney close to the case told the Gazette-Mail the court’s decision last week effectively puts an end to Folk’s lawsuit.
Common Core is a set of grade-level expectations in math and English that ensures public school students across the country get the same basic education.
Republicans in both chambers of West Virginia’s Legislature tried to force a repeal of Common Core during the 2015 session and have since indicated they will once again attempt to get rid of the standards during next year’s regular session.