"The centralization of education under a federal government will not be possible as long as I am Governor and have the support of the Mississippi legislature."
An Executive Order issued by Mississippi's governor aims to make sure state government has the ultimate right and responsibility to educate students.
According to the release: Gov. Phil Bryant today issued an Executive Order affirming Mississippi's right and responsibility to define and implement its own public school standards and curricula. The Executive Order also makes clear that, under state law, this core function of state government cannot be ceded to the federal government.
"There is serious public concern about the reach of the federal government into state public education policy, and this order makes very clear that Mississippi and its local school districts and not the federal government are vested with the authority to define and implement public education standards," Gov. Phil Bryant said. "Our classrooms will not become delivery vehicles for bureaucratic federal mandates. We have made tremendous progress in enacting improvements in our public education system, and we will continue pursuing what works for Mississippi children."
The order comes as Mississippi prepares to implement Common Core State Standards, a set of English Language Arts and Mathematics standards that have been adopted by more than 40 states. Common Core was adopted by the Mississippi Department of Education in 2010.
The order affirms that:
the state and its local public school districts, not the federal government, shall determine public school standards and curricula.
the state and not the federal government shall select statewide assessments, and local school districts may implement additional assessments to monitor academic progress.
no federal law or grant currently purports to mandate the adoption of any uniform, nationwide academic standards, curricula, or assessments.
the state is under no obligation to comply with any future federal mandates for uniform academic standards, curricula or assessments.
the collection of test data and other student information pertaining to academic performance shall comply with all laws that protect student and family privacy.
the constitutional rights of Mississippi school children and their families will not be violated as result of federal education decisions.
that, in accordance with applicable law, homeschool students are not bound by K-12 academic standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education
"It is the strongest executive order that I have issued. It is one that clearly says to the federal government, we will not allow the takeover of our educational agenda in Mississippi schools under any circumstances."
Bryant now looks to the legislature to pass bills supporting his order. Representative John Moore chairs the House Education Committee.
"I think it's a good thing for the Governor to go ahead and alleviate these concerns for people," said Rep. Moore.
Moore is one of the lawmakers that's been in favor of moving forward with Common Core. He doesn't see the use in the full-pause that some had called for recently.
"How long do you want to review it? Do you want to review it two or three more years? How many more children do we run through the pipeline under an old standard?" asked Moore.
Governor Bryant is ready to see higher standards but doesn't want to sacrifice the state's control in the process.
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