HILL: Mississippi Can Do Better Than Common-Core


20130728-083849.jpgBY: Senator Angela Hill

Last week, I and my fellow Senators in the Mississippi Senate Conservative Coalition found evidence of racially discriminatory policy in testing expectations arising from the adoption and implementation of Common Core State standards in Mississippi. These standards are currently being rolled out across the state by the Mississippi Department of Education.

As a group, the coalition has begun researching public policy and potential legislation that will come to the forefront in the 2014 session of the legislature. However, when the latest evidence of racial standards arose, we could not wait until January to talk about it. It was an important enough issue to Mississippi students and their parents to be shared immediately.

The more we in the Senate Conservative Coalition learn about Common Core Standards themselves and the testing, reporting, and accountability model that Mississippi will be bound to as reported in the No Child Left Behind Waiver document, the more we are troubled. Our research indicates that Common Core implementation will result in more overreach from the federal government, higher than expected costs, and potentially lower standards for all students. As legislators, those are all issues at which we must look closer. Two of Common Core’s own mathematics standards writers have publicly stated how weak Common Core’s college readiness math standards are. These concerns, in conjunction with the added racial bias the coalition has found, would do great harm to future generations of Mississippians.

The Mississippi Department of Education adopted Common Core Standards in order to be able to compete for billions of federal grant dollars of which none were awarded to Mississippi, and to be able to request a waiver from certain portions of No Child Left Behind. However, racial proficiency quotas were added in the form of Annual Measurability Objectives as a component of a new Differentiated Accountability Model. This means Mississippi ‘s education officials plan for our schools to participate in these requirements.

The MDE document sent to Federal Education bureaucrats in Washington lists proficiency objectives through 2017 based on subgroups of race and economic disadvantage, setting the bar lower for black students than any other subgroup.

Recent reports in Virginia, Florida and Alabama have unearthed evidence of racial quotas arising from adoption of Common Core in those states, as well. We have also seen Georgia and Oklahoma back away from their agreement to participate in one of two consortiums developing the standardized testing for Common Core. Florida’s senate leadership recently sent a letter to state Superintendent Tony Bennett asking for Florida to withdraw also.

I would like to see a time in our state when race isn’t an issue and we can just discuss what makes sense for the people of Mississippi. It is insulting to minorities in Mississippi for a government agency to tell them that their achievement is limited or that less is expected of them because of their skin color or bank account balance.

We all have challenges to overcome, but telling someone they don’t have the fortitude to achieve success because of their race is something we as Mississippians shouldn’t stand for. I believe those that have overcome those challenges will tell you they did not want lower standards, or to be guaranteed things would be easier because of the color of their skin.

Young Mississippians, of all races and economic backgrounds, are the future of this state. We cannot afford to allow lower standards that negatively affect their future. There is too much at stake.

At a time when we are beginning to see improvements in the economy and job creation in our state, a setback to the education of those who would fill those jobs could be catastrophic. We cannot allow education policy to be adopted that will add to the already overburdened welfare and unemployment rolls. We cannot take the chance that the actions of a few in Jackson will put Mississippi families in that untenable position.

Common Core is not about high-quality national education standards. It is not about getting low-income or racial minority students into advanced courses in high school and then into college. Common Core standards is about how to lower the academic level of what states require for high school diplomas and for admission to public colleges.

I do not accept lowering the bar as an acceptable way to close the achievement gap, and I don’t believe Mississippi students or parents accept it.

There are many things we can do to establish higher standards in Mississippi, by involving the brightest minds we have in the state’s colleges and universities, and by involving our best teachers who know what does and does not work in the classroom.

As a State Senator, It is my intention to stand in support of legislation that will pause implementation of the Common Core standards because of these very troubling revelations. I support setting the same high expectations for all of our citizens, because I believe Mississippians can make the grade. To accept less is to accept mediocrity.

Please call your local school boards, your Superintendent of Education, and your elected representatives and tell them to support Mississippi’s future by setting high expectations for all of our students. Tell them it is time to pause implementation of Common Core until further study of this controversial program can take place.

Senator Angela Hill is a former educator from Picayune representing District 40 in the Mississippi State Senate. She was first elected in 2011. Hill is a former science teacher and has been a vocal proponent of education reform. She is a member of the Senate Education Committee, as well as 7 other Senate Committees.

Advertisements

20 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

20 responses to “HILL: Mississippi Can Do Better Than Common-Core

  1. Reblogged this on Gulf South Free Press and commented:
    At least someone is watching out for the children of the state….but will it be enough?

  2. Pingback: #Rewind: Performance Based Compensation for teachers is patching leaks, we need a new ship. | Mississippi PEP

  3. Pingback: PLUNKETT: Common Core endangers innovation and choices in education. | Mississippi PEP

  4. Pingback: #7for7: Education, inspections, elections, ethics, audits and teen pregnancy. | Mississippi PEP

  5. Pingback: HILL: Senator Jones’ response to Common Core concerns loaded with falsehoods. | Mississippi PEP

  6. Hill has it right. Even though we all seek education reform and better education, lowering standards for better scores is a step backwards. Slow down and don’t make mistakes.

  7. Pingback: PLUNKETT: Government school shill Nancy Loome comes out swinging for Common Core. | Mississippi PEP

  8. Pingback: Senate Conservatives want answers from MDE on Common Core, say money not standards drove adoption. | Mississippi PEP

  9. Pingback: #7for7: The fight for facts with #CommonCore, Hood heads North, Texting-while-driving and Barbers just wanna have fun. | Mississippi PEP

  10. Pingback: Senate Conservative Coalition Policy Chairman Michael Watson condemns bias at Daily Journal over Common Core | Mississippi PEP

  11. Pingback: PLUNKETT: Senator Watson calls out Daily Journal for bias, they respond by deleting evidence. | Mississippi PEP

  12. Pingback: WATSON: For Elected Officials who won’t roll up their sleeves–”shame on them”. | Mississippi PEP

  13. Pingback: Senate Conservatives meet with business and education leaders from Metro Area, more meetings planned across state.. | Mississippi PEP

  14. Pingback: Senate Conservative Coalition continues town hall tour with stop in Natchez. | Mississippi PEP

  15. steve

    I would like to know when the next anti-common core rally is being held…I am a 20 year educator who is full to the top of federal nose-poking in our state education system….always the money isn’t it? What about the kids?
    Please post when the next event will be…I’ll bring help….signed: Where does it all end?

  16. Sherry Mcgowan

    NCLB always measures test scores in sub groups. Where is the documentation of lowering standards? As a former teacher, senator Hill surely knows this. Why isn’t she leading a coalition to create higher standards. One minute the standards are too hard and the next too easy. Who has she been meeting with behind closed doors? What is she genuinely trying to change? Because the new standards are hard to teach, is she still a teacher at heart? Yes teachers do not like to see students struggle, but for some the issue is they don’t want change they can’t control. This is about special interests, it is our job as parents to realize who’s interest are being fought for.

  17. Pingback: Senator Angela Hill: Mississippi Can Do Better Than Common-Core | The Education Report - your source for education news, updated all day

  18. diana Hinton

    What happened to the comment from Jane Boykin? She had a very good explanation of Common Core and the lack of a curriculum.

  19. Pingback: PLUNKETT: #CommonCore in Mississippi: A History. | Mississippi PEP

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s