Missouri’s Membership in Smarter Balanced Found Unconstitutional

MissouriStateFlag1Fred Sauer, Anne Gassel & Gretchen Logue are co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Missouri Governor Jay Nixon over the state’s membership in Smarter Balanced.  The judge in their case, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Sauer v. Nixon and deemed Missouri’s participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia illegal.  He ruled that the fees paid by the state to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia are unlawful under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as “state and federal law.”

The Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that “No State shall, without the consent of Congress … enter into any Agreement or Compact with any other State.”  In their lawsuit, Sauer, Gassel, and Logue contended that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is just the sort of interstate agreement that must be authorized by the U.S. Congress under this Clause.  The lawsuit contends that the consortium threatens the authority of the U.S. Congress because the federal Department of Education’s action in creating the consortium contravene Congressional prohibitions on the creation of a national curriculum.  Their lawsuit also contended that the consortium threatens the freedom and authority of non-member states by attempting to create a de facto education “cartel” aligned with Common Core.

Green has permanently enjoined the State of Missouri from making payments in the form of membership fees to Smarter Balanced.  Green back in December had placed a restraining order on payments to Smarter Balanced.  Now the state will have to withdraw from the consortia.

The state had budgeted, according to the Associated Press, $4.3 million for member dues this fiscal year.  Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office is reviewing the case, and the state is expected to appeal.