Debate over Common Core gets out of hand

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Common Core debacle just keeps getting sillier.

After an uproar over the new academic standards, state legislators passed a bill that would distance Mississippi from Common Core. The bill would have created a panel to examine the standards to see if they were a good fit for Mississippi students.

But to everyone’s surprise Gov. Phil Bryant vetoed that legislation. Now, state education officials will conduct their own review of the academic standards.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

State Superintendent Carey Wright said Monday at a luncheon sponsored by Mississippi State University’s Stennis Institute of Government and the Capitol press corps that the Mississippi Department of Education will solicit public comments for 90 days on English and math standards, according to The Associated Press.

A panel of educators will then examine comments and propose possible new standards, deletions or changes to the state Board of Education.

“At the end of the process, we will have a set of standards that are Mississippi-centric, that have had input from across the state,” Wright said.

That sounds great, but isn’t that exactly what we had before Common Core? And where did those academic standards get us? The idea behind Common Core was to have national benchmarks that challenged our students and hopefully better prepared them for college.

Sure, Common Core is different. It emphasizes analytical learning over memorization. But different isn’t necessarily bad. Legislators tried to kill Common Core before the state had a chance to see what the classroom results would be.

While Wright is advocating examining the standards, she doesn’t appear to want to kill them entirely.

“Our students have invested way too much for us to be turning back now,” Wright said. “Throwing out these standards would place our state in a state of turmoil as it has in other states.”

Despite those concerns, Wright said the standards need to be reviewed. She seems to want it both ways — keep Common Core in place but examine the standards to appease legislators and the governor.  As we all know, you usually can’t have it both ways. If Wright believes in Common Core, which she has said she does, then she needs to resist outside pressure and do what she thinks is best for Mississippi’s students.