Senate Conservatives say Common Core’s race-based standards a case of blatant discrimination.


The Mississippi Senate Conservative Coalition (MSCC) announced today that member legislators plan to take a closer look at the Common Core Curriculum currently being implemented across the state, citing more overreach from the federal government, higher than expected costs, potentially lower overall standards, and the most recent revelation of possible race-based standards in the program as the latest in a growing list of concerns.

“The coalition has continued working hard to find the facts behind Common Core so that we can make an informed decision on potential legislation,” said Coalition Policy Chairman Senator Michael Watson. “The latest news of racial measures in other states and how that might lead to differences in student outcomes make it even more troubling than it already was, increasing the need for us to take a step back.”

Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed legislation passed by the Indiana General Assembly in April of this year that halted rollout of Common Core there until a cost-benefit analysis and further discussion about the standards could be completed. Recent reports in Virginia, Florida and Alabama have unearthed evidence of racial quotas in Common Core in those states.

“Many parents in Mississippi are worried about the fast paced implementation of Common Core in our schools, and feel a number of questions haven’t been answered. We owe it to them to take a closer look at the program and be sure that misunderstandings are cleared up,” said Coalition Member and former educator Senator Angela Hill. “But, if this latest revelation that the standards will include a sliding scale of race-based achievement is true, then I think parents will want to have a much more serious discussion about the program before allowing it to move ahead.” 

The Mississippi Department of Education requested waivers from the Federal Department of Education in July of 2012 for some parts of the program. However, it appears that no waivers of the racial quotas were included in those requests, meaning Mississippi schools would participate in the requirements. Those requirements include “separate measurable annual objectives” for “students from major racial and ethnic groups.” 

The MDE waiver request document lists proficiency objectives through 2017 based on subgroups of race and economic disadvantage within a school district, setting the bar lower for black students than any other racial subgroup.

“If the Mississippi Department of Education intends to evaluate children and measures of progress differently based on race as it appears is the case in other states, then we simply can’t sit by and allow such a blatant discrimination to occur,” said Coalition Chairman Senator Chris McDaniel. “It is offensive to tell parents that their children cannot compete on a level playing field with other children due to their ethnicity, and it certainly doesn’t raise standards of learning.”

(MSCC Press Release)

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35 Comments

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35 responses to “Senate Conservatives say Common Core’s race-based standards a case of blatant discrimination.

  1. Barbara J. Minter

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, MSCC and other legislators, for beginning to look seriously into Common Core. As a former teacher of AP English, I have been deeply concerned about all that I have learned and researched about the implementation of what I could only view as nationalized education that would greatly impair education in the United States. I ranted for weeks on Facebook, shared articles via regular mail and emails with parents and other educators, and made phone calls and sent letters of concern to school administrators. I learned of many outstanding, superior teachers in my school district retiring early or simply leaving the profession due to concerns of Common Core. I had begun to feel quite defeated, but reading this article has given me new hope.
    Sincerely,
    Barbara J. Minter
    Retired
    Forrest County Agricultural High School

    • Vicki Reyna

      Amen Barbara! I am just learning about Common Core in the past week and getting more concerned with each discovery about it! I clicked on one article just to read about it and then clicked another link and with each article, my concern grew! I have been sending emails out and posting on my local “Grenada Speaks” Facebook page and trying to warn parents and grandparents (like myself) about what this curriculum is really about! I am finding that the only teachers who will respond to my post are ones who like it! But I am receiving private messages from numerous ones who hate it but are terrified of speaking out because they feel their jobs would be in danger! That also troubles me! I was very encouraged to run across the article about these Senators! I want them to know that there are MANY parents and grandparents (and TEACHERS though they may not can speak up) who are very concerned about the Common Core program and I, for one, want it OUT OF MISSISSIPPI!!! I have a granddaughter who lives in Texas but thankfully Governor Rick Perry had the wisdom to refuse to accept it there! He said no to the funding (because people….don’t be fooled….most of these states’s school systems accepted this because they were threatened with the loss of funding from the “Race to the Top” !) and told the federal government who is the REAL push behind this program that he didn’t want any more intrusion into his state by the federal government than he already had! I wish Mississippi’s Governor had had the wisdom to make that decision! But a lot of the states who accepted it were having budget issues and the federal government took full advantage of the states’ needs for funding to push this through!!!

      I am praying that these Senators can make enough noise about this horrendous curriculum to make Mississippians listen and respond! I am posting links to the various articles I run across on my FB page and on the “Grenada Speaks” one and responding to the newspaper articles like this one that I see.

      We MUST have a voice and we MUST be heard NOW! This program is so much worse than even the schools have any idea!!!

    • Vicki Reyna

      “But they don’t even mention a critically important statement opposing the K-3 standards, signed by more than 500 early childhood professionals. The Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals on the Common Core Standards Initiative was signed by educators, pediatricians, developmental psychologists, and researchers, including many of the most prominent members of those fields.”

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/29/a-tough-critique-of-common-core-on-early-childhood-education/?

  2. This is great news. I do not personally have children in school anymore, but I am SO thankful to MSCC for seriously delving into this matter. It is unfortunate that our children are being used as guinea pigs in the name of ‘education’.
    Please continue the great work you are doing on behalf of our children in Mississippi.
    Sincerely,
    Tracie Smith
    A concerned citizen

  3. Jane Boykin

    My understanding of the Common Core is that there is no “Common Core Curriculum” – just the broad Standards for curriculum. Each state adopting those standards is responsible for the curriculum but – a state may revise (tweak) the curriculum it has in place.

    However, Mississippi does not have a “curriculum” in place and I don’t believe it ever has. Instead, MDE develops a “curriculum framework” defining what must be taught; and, then develops (or contracts for) a state assessments to measure the extent to which children have learned what “must be taught”.

    The “framework” is developed by committee in a process more like a church group making chicken salad; i.e., the committee selects the recipe and some are assigned to bring chicken and others are assigned to bring the remaining items in the recipe.

    In developing a curriculum “framework”, MDE selects teachers from various districts and others it considers knowledgeable to serve on the committee; appoints a chairman; and provides “direction”. The group recommends the elements of the framework. Each element is assigned to one or more members who create that piece of the frame. Next, MDE selects certain members to serve on the “writing committee” and, when their work is done, sends to “framework” to a contractor that, reportedly, verifies the accuracy of the content before it is conformed to the framework format.

    What most think of a curriculum – a document given teachers detailing what to teach – is purchased and/or developed at the local level, either by the local district, each school in the district or even each teacher. (MDE provides a list of approved curriculum products)

    All local districts have someone designated a curriculum specialist and some have one or more individuals working in a dedicated position on the administrative staff. Various news stories suggest curriculum for the Common Core is being developed at the district level; but, it appears from the reports I’ve read, committees are formed at the District level, too.

    In other words, there are at least as many versions of any given curriculum as there are school districts; but, the state assessment measures the extent to which children in all districts are mastering what is taught.

    Experience is my “source document”. In the past, I’ve been appointed to serve on “curriculum committees”. However, my experience is relevant. The recently adopted pre-K Standards were developed in the “chicken salad” process and aligned with the Common Core Standards for Kindergarten. If not already out, MDE will soon be releasing an RFP for the assessment of Kindergarten Readiness.

    Since curriculum Standards developed working down from the next higher grade, a review of the requirements of the RFP will inform the Coalition’s work.

    • It is the assessments that are being questioned by the coalition in this case. Those assessments have different objectives for students based on race and then reward local schools and districts for meeting the lower proficiency standard.

  4. Travis Rose

    I don’t see how Common Core Curriculum is anything other than a giant leap in the wrong direction. Lowering our mathematics goals. Racial and socioeconomic quotas. And we are adopting these standards because of the lure of more federal money. Public schools seem to be more about money than our children nowadays.

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  14. Vicki Reyna

    “We reviewed the makeup of the committees that wrote and reviewed the Common Core Standards. In all, there were 135 people on those panels. Not a single one of them was a K-3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/29/a-tough-critique-of-common-core-on-early-childhood-education/?

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  19. Steve

    Wow, it’s true. The Senate Conservative Coalition IS misleading citizens. You are confusing, intentionally or accidentally, Common Core and state waivers for No Child Left Behind. If you are a group with integrity, you’ll clarify your error here, where you made it. For those of you who are independent thinkers, you can look at the Common Core State Standards here, and see if you see anything about race-based assessment. You won’t. http://www.corestandards.org/

    • The following is pulled directly from the MS Dept. of Education’s ESEA application to the Feds. The coalition is correct. The race standards are part of the #CommonCore application in Mississippi.
      http://mississippipep.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/20130807-071620.jpg

      • Steve

        No, you are still misleading. What you cite here is cut scores, based on race, developed by the Mississippi Department of Education for its current assessment. This has nothing to do with Common Core. The state explained this in a FAQ (link below), and someone posted the same thing above. The point is clear: there is nothing about race in the Common Core standards. If you have integrity, you will revise your blog to reflect this. Again, if you want to know what is in the Common Core standards, you can simply look at them via the link above.

        http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/ms-college-career-standards/common-core-faq

      • These are racially based targets. These came from the ESEA waiver application that listed Common Core as the standards by which the MS Dept of Ed would get to these standards of achievement. If Common Core doesn’t call for race based standards as a rule, then that’s fine. But it’s not the point. Mississippi Dept of Ed’s standards of achievement ARE clearly based in racial targets and the way they get there is by using the Common Core.

  20. Steve

    Did I forget to hit the “post comment” button for my reply?

  21. Steve

    I guess so. But this is my point exactly. First, since there are no race-based standards in the Common Core, your attacks on the Common Core are misleading. Second, if you succeed through your misinformation in defeating the Common Core in your state, you will still have race based standards, since these are the product of your own state education bureaucrats. So, again, if this is an organization with integrity and a real concern for education and race, you will correct this posting.

    • First, this is a press releases. All original content is published under the name of the author. So, there is nothing for this website to correct. Secondly, the race-based standards being made part of the application is a fact. It is being addressed here by the MSCC member senators. If you read the release closely they clearly refer to further investigation and to the same revelations in other states like Alabama.

      • Steve

        You seem to imply that if you could correct the original content, you would. That’s encouraging, at least. Good luck with your race-based practices. Just remember that these are Mississippi (and Alabama) practices, and have nothing to do with the Common Core State Standards.

      • We’re saying there is nothing that needs correction.

  22. Steve

    Wow. Then my original post stands. You are misleading the good people of Mississippi about the Common Core. I would like to think that this is not deliberate and that you simply don’t understand the difference between Common Core standards and the various ways that state like Mississippi are implementing them. I fear however that your organization is one of those who are creating and spreading falsehoods about the Common Core, as a way to energize your conservative base. If this is the case, then you are doing education, race relations, and political dialogue no service. However, I can’t be any clearer at my end, so I’ll let you have the last word. Good luck.

    • You obviously want the last word. So, we’ll leave it at this: we find nothing inconsistent with the MSCC concerns, and the facts as it relates to Mississippi Dept. Of Ed’s implementation plans for Common Core.

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