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State Superintendent, State Board of Education support continued implementation of higher standards

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

This is a news release from the Mississippi Department of Education 

Dr. Wayne Gann, chairman of the Mississippi Board of Education, and Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, issued statements today regarding comments from Gov. Phil Bryant about Common Core State Standards.

"On behalf of the State Board of Education, I want to express our disappointment in the comments Gov. Bryant has made about the state's higher standards for learning. When Board members voted to approve the standards four years ago, we knew that this was an opportunity to provide students with the high-quality education that they deserved so they can be better prepared for college or direct entry into the workforce with the knowledge and skills to succeed," Gann said. "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. It is our hope that our students' futures are not placed in jeopardy for political expediency."

Earlier this year, the Mississippi PEER Committee issued a report that stated Common Core State Standards was not a federal government initiative and that Mississippi's main purpose for adopting the standards was to raise the bar for educational achievement in the state.

The U.S. Department of Education did not develop the standards. The Common Core State Standards was a state-led effort that established a single set of clear, consistent educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopted. The standards emphasize critical thinking, teamwork and problem-solving skills. 

Wright said that the Mississippi Department of Education and school districts have worked tirelessly since 2010 to prepare for the standards, and professional development for teachers continues.

"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.

"Ultimately, our students are at the heart of everything we do, and they are as capable and smart as students in other states. They deserve the opportunity to perform to higher expectations, and we believe the standards adopted by the Board will provide that," Wright said.

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