WJTV News Channel 12 - Gov. Bryant Issues Executive Order Affirming Mississippi’s Right

Gov. Bryant Issues Executive Order Affirming Mississippi’s Right to Define its Own Public School Curricula

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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:

  • Mississippi and its local public school districts shall determine public school standards and curricula.
  • Mississippi shall select statewide assessments, and local school districts may implement additional assessments to monitor academic progress.
  • There is no federal law or any federal money recieved to encourage Mississippi to adopt any uniform, nationwide academic standards, curricula, or assessments.
  • Mississippi 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 will not violate laws that protect student and family privacy.
  • Federal education decisions will not violate the constitutional rights of Mississippi school children and their families .
  • Homeschool students are not bound by K-12 academic standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education.
House Education Committee Chairman John Moore and Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison both expressed support for the Executive Order.

“Mississippi families need to know that their children’s education is not going to be turned over to an outside authority, and I thank Gov. Bryant for this order,” Mississippi House Education Committee Chairman John Moore said. “We are in tune with our constituents’ concerns and look forward to further codifying the points of this order in the upcoming legislative session.”

“Excellent public education opportunities are vital to our state’s success, and the Legislature takes the responsibility for fostering success in Mississippi classrooms very seriously,” Mississippi Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison said. “We have seen tremendous momentum for improvement, and this order clarifies that Mississippians have the right to continue creating education solutions that are best for this state.”

Dr. Carey Wright, State Superintendent of Education, Responds to Gov. Bryant's Executive Order:

“I am pleased that Gov. Bryant supports higher academic standards for Mississippi’s students. Over the past three years, the Mississippi Department of Education has been providing professional development to educators across the state in preparation for higher standards. School districts have developed the curriculum around Common Core State Standards and have implemented these more rigorous learning goals in classrooms. The federal government hasn’t done any of that. Our teachers and school leaders across the state have done the hard work to make this happen.”

“I believe it’s imperative that we continue in our efforts to raise the bar for what children should know and be able to do at each grade level so that our students are better prepared to succeed in college and in the workforce. No longer can Mississippi afford to remain at the bottom nationally in educational achievement. If we are to improve the state’s economy and job opportunities, we must begin with strong educational opportunities for all students. Our parents and students deserve no less.”

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