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Judge dismisses lawsuit over ND membership in Common Core testing consortium

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BISMARCK A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to end North Dakota's membership in a multistate group that develops tests aligned with the Common Core education standards, but the state is withdrawing anyway as it prepares to adopt revised academic standards and testing to match.

Opponents of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium sued copy ring cartier state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and other state officials in June 2015, claiming the 18 state consortium was an unlawful interstate compact and seeking to block North Dakota from spending any more money on it. 3.

Reich ruled that North Dakota "has not delegated or ceded its sovereignty" by participating in the consortium, which now has 15 member states. A memorandum of understanding signed by North Dakota officials in 2014 also did not bind the state to decisions made by the consortium's governing board or restrict the state's ability to withdraw, he wrote in a Sept. 12 order granting the state's motion to dismiss and denying a preliminary injunction.

The lawsuit, formally dismissed last week, was brought by Bismarck resident Steve Cates, Williston residents Charles Cartier and Catherine Cartier and state Rep. Bob Skarphol, R Tioga, with assistance from the Thomas More Law Center. Their listed attorney, Arnold Fleck, did not return a message left at his office Monday, and it wasn't clear whether they plan to appeal.

A similar lawsuit brought by two South Dakota residents was dismissed in June by Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Mark Barnett. Department of Education had coerced states into adopting Common Core by tying the transition to federal funding and granting flexibility waivers.

However, Barnett noted that Missouri withdrew its membership fee money from the consortium, and Oklahoma repealed Common Core and reinstated its previous standards. Wisconsin also knock off cartier ring diamond passed a law ordering diamond ring cartier replica the state to cut ties with the consortium.

"Therefore, there may be economic pressures to adopt Common Core, but those pressures are not coercive and have been overcome," Barnett wrote.

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction is revising the state's academic standards for math and English to replace those adopted in 2011 based on the Common Core.

Two committees of teachers recently completed first drafts of the standards, which are posted on the DPI website for public comment through Oct. 14. At least two more drafts will be released for comment, with a final draft possible in March 2017, Baesler said.

The state will solicit bids next spring for tests to align with the revised standards, which will be implemented for the 2017 18 school year.

Baesler notified Smarter Balanced in a Sept. 12 letter that North Dakota will withdraw from the consortium effective June 30, 2017, making the state contractually free to accept bids from other firms.
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