MDE Board Member: Governor's statements "just red meat to Tea Party"

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - "The governor's proclamation is kind of just red meat to the Tea Party folks who don't want or refuse to understand that there's not anything wrong with Common Core. It's really a great deal for Mississippi."

Mississippi Department of Education board member Bill Jones said this in response to Phil Bryant's remarks on Common Core Tuesday.

Mississippi adopted Common Core State Standards three years ago, and even though this is not a federal program, Governor Phil Bryant has issued an executive order to reassure Mississippians that Mississippi has the right to define its own public school curricula.

"We're not afraid to compete with anybody in the nation. Mississippi ought to say our students can compete with any other states, and America ought to be able to compete with any other country in the world, but it doesn't take a centralized federal government to make that happen,"said Governor Phil Bryant.

Jones served on the board with the MDE along with the national governor's council when they adopted these states standards. According to Jones, the governor's order has seven bullet points to it that reiterated what is already true about Common Core.

"The second bullet point. The state, not the federal government shall select standards for statewide assignments. So? That's what we're doing. That's exactly what we're doing. It doesn't have anything to do with the federal government," said Jones.

Local school administrator Edna Thomas said her district has taught under Common Core since its 2010 adoption, and said the governors order showed his support for the State's adoption of Common Core.

"Local control has not been taken away. He's just supporting that for us to make sure that we're able to decide how our children will be taught," said Thomas.

Jones stated the governor's statements are calming the waters for groups that have been more vocal against the measure for the state's public school students.

"From a department of education standpoint, this proclamation is just jibberish," said Jones. "There's no reason in the world that a child from Mississippi should not be taught how to perform mathematics the same as the children being taught mathematics in Massachusetts or Arizona or the state of Washington. It's just silly to oppose this Common Core curriculum."

Jones added, "it's a shame, it's really a shame. Mississippi's got to wake up and join the rest of the nation," said Jones. "To catch up, you have to double up. And we're not making that double up effort yet, but common core is a step in the right direction."

Thomas reiterated that the state was in control.

"We do have local control. Our district has already decided what our curriculum will be around Common Core," said Thomas. "We think it's going to get back to our children having high order thinking."

"We really think that our children can adapt to any standard that's out there. it's just the way that we teach them and the strategies that we use," said Thomas.

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