Bryant affirms state's right to define school curricula
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 12:00 AM
JACKSON - Gov. Phil Bryant issued an Executive Order Monday affirming Mississippi's right and responsibility to define and implement its own public school standards and curricula. The Executive Order also makes clear that, under state law, this core function of state government cannot be ceded to the federal government.
"There is serious public concern about the reach of the federal government into state public education policy, and this order makes very clear that Mississippi and its local school districts and not the federal government are vested with the authority to define and implement public education standards," Gov. Phil Bryant said. "Our classrooms will not become delivery vehicles for bureaucratic federal mandates. We have made tremendous progress in enacting improvements in our public education system, and we will continue pursuing what works for Mississippi children."
The order comes as Mississippi prepares to implement Common Core State Standards, a set of English Language Arts and Mathematics standards that have been adopted by more than 40 states. Common Core was adopted by the Mississippi Department of Education in 2010.
Lee Ann Fulton, curriculum coordinator for the Philadelphia Public School District, said her district would continue to follow guidelines from the state Department of Education
"The Philadelphia Public School District will wait from guidance from MDE and will continue the implementation process of the curriculum as we have previously been directed," Fulton said. " We will continue to follow the guidelines put out by MDE until we hear otherwise."
The order affirms that:
The state and its local public school districts, not the federal government, shall determine public school standards and curricula.
The state and not the federal government shall select statewide assessments, and local school districts may implement additional assessments to monitor academic progress.
No federal law or grant currently purports to mandate the adoption of any uniform, nationwide academic standards, curricula, or assessments.
The state is under no obligation to comply with any future federal mandates for uniform academic standards, curricula or assessments.
The collection of test data and other student information pertaining to academic performance shall comply with all laws that protect student and family privacy.
The constitutional rights of Mississippi school children and their families will not be violated as result of federal education decisions.
That, in accordance with applicable law, homeschool students are not bound by K-12 academic standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education.
House Education Committee Chairman John Moore and Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison both expressed support for the Executive Order.
"Mississippi families need to know that their children's education is not going to be turned over to an outside authority, and I thank Gov. Bryant for this order," Mississippi House Education Committee Chairman John Moore said. "We are in tune with our constituents' concerns and look forward to further codifying the points of this order in the upcoming legislative session."
"Excellent public education opportunities are vital to our state's success, and the Legislature takes the responsibility for fostering success in Mississippi classrooms very seriously," Mississippi Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison said. "We have seen tremendous momentum for improvement, and this order clarifies that Mississippians have the right to continue creating education solutions that are best for this state."