A judge has issued a restraining order in Missouri that says that Missouri is “restrained from making any payments in the form of membership fees to the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium… including but not limited to disbursements pursuant to “Invoice #1″ issued to the State.” The restraining order is, at least temporarily, halting [some aspects of] Common Core SBAC tests in the state.
According to the Missouri Education Watchdog, “the Solicitor General, in arguing for the state defendant, argued that if the fees were not paid, there would be no assessments available in Missouri schools this year at all. This contradicts what an SBAC spokesperson said on the phone to legal counsel for the plaintiff when she said that the membership fees are separate and distinct from the charge for using the assessments. It also seems to contradict provisions of federal regulations that require the assessments developed by the consortia to be generally available to non-member states… if other states were to withdraw their membership based on the same grounds, this would require a significant reorganization of the test supplier into a commercial venture as opposed to a testing consortia… it would weaken the federal government’s requirement that states use the consortia tests in order to comply with federal regulation or waivers, because then the federal government would be granting a monopoly to a particular private company.
This ruling is a sign that the court sees some merit in the case, that SBAC may be an illegal interstate compact and thus the state’s membership in it should be null and void.”
Update: Missouri Education Watchdog has asked to make the following clarification/correction. Here it is:
“The TRO does not stop the state from implementing the SBAC test. It simply stops the state from paying any money to SBAC in the form of membership payments. The state will continue with its plans to administer the SBAC test in spring 2015, but the recently passed HB1490 prohibits the student scores from that test from being used in teacher evaluations or district accreditation determinations. They call it a “Pilot” test. The money we pay them would have to be classified as a purchase of SBAC…