Gov. Phil Bryant is noncommittal on whether he will sign legislation establishing an 11-member commission to make recommendations to the state Board of Education on academic standards for local school districts.
The legislation was passed during the final days of the just-completed 2015 session as a response to concerns expressed by many – primarily from Republican and Tea Party-related groups – about the Common Core academic standards the Mississippi Board of Education and most other states have enacted.
Many Common Core opponents say the legislation falls far short of their goal – a complete repeal of Common Core.
If Bryant did veto the legislation, it could create some interesting dynamics since he would be opposing legislation approved by an overwhelming number of his fellow Republicans.
In the 122-member House, only 29 members (one Republican) voted against the proposal. Generally speaking, the Democrats who voted against the proposal did so because they do not think the Legislature should be trying to usurp the authority of the constitutionally created Board of Education.
In the 52-member Senate, six members (three Republicans) voted no.
Tollison said other states have created similar commissions. The results in those states have been additional standards, but not the complete elimination of Common Core. In Mississippi, the commission, should the governor sign the bill into law, would be composed of members appointed by Bryant, Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, and four legislators.
The legislation does prohibit after this school year the use of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers to measure how well students are learning the standards. Various local superintendents, as well as others, have voiced opposition to the PARCC tests.
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