WATER VALLEY – The school district will continue with implementation of the Common Core State Standards in spite of the growing controversy at the state and national level.
Superintendent Kim Chrestman told school board members at their meeting June 23 that state school officials are unsure what Governor Phil Bryant and the legislature will do. But, the State Department of Education is moving forward with implementation. “Likewise, we at our school district will follow through with the implementation in our district until we are told different,” he said.
Trustee Casey Washington asked if the state could continue regardless of how the governor stands on Common Core. Chrestman answered that the standards have been approved and adopted, but the legislature could withdraw Mississippi from the program.
Chrestman continued that in order to continue to receive federal money for programs such as special education, the state would have to adopt some sort of standards.
He stressed that to withdraw at this point would throw school districts into chaos over such things as the purchase of textbooks. Plus, there is the issue of the huge amount of money already spent preparing for Common Core.
WVHS Principal Dr. Glenn Kitchens joined the conversation and noted that even if the legislature withdrew, it was probable that schools in the state would continue to use the Common Core standards. “We would just be out of the national assessment testing. That might be one way we would stay federally in line.”
Common Core Controversy
The Common Core State Standards were originally designed as a state-led initiative that each state could choose to voluntarily adopt. Some describe the CCSS as federal overreach and attempts to federally control curricula, testing, and teaching practice. Several states have taken action against CCSS including Oklahoma, South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Indiana.
Gov. Bryant made negative comments last week about CCSS, calling it a “failed program.” He also hinted of withdrawing from the CCSS implementation.
Dr. Wayne Gann, chairman of the Mississippi Board of Education, expressed disappointment in the governor’s comments. “While Mississippi had made some improvements in education over the years, it was obvious that the state’s former standards would not be enough to move us from the bottom of every national measure of education outcomes,” Gann said. “It is our hope that our students’ futures are not placed in jeopardy for political expediency.”
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said, “It is a gross mischaracterization to call the standards a ‘failed program’ when Mississippi and other states have yet to give the first test aligned to the standards. The state is still in the implementation phase, and to remove the standards now would be disheartening to the district and school leaders and teachers who have invested time and resources in this effort.”