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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