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

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Mississippi Department of Education 

Dr. Wayne Gann, chairman of the Mississippi Board ofEducation, and Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, issuedstatements today regarding comments from Gov. Phil Bryant about Common CoreState Standards.

"On behalf of the State Board of Education, I want toexpress our disappointment in the comments Gov. Bryant has made about thestate's higher standards for learning. When Board members voted to approve thestandards four years ago, we knew that this was an opportunity to providestudents with the high-quality education that they deserved so they can bebetter prepared for college or direct entry into the workforce with theknowledge and skills to succeed," Gann said. "While Mississippi had made someimprovements in education over the years, it was obvious that the state'sformer standards would not be enough to move us from the bottom of everynational 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 areport that stated Common Core State Standards was not a federal governmentinitiative and that Mississippi's main purpose for adopting the standards wasto raise the bar for educational achievement in the state.

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

Wright said that the Mississippi Department of Education andschool districts have worked tirelessly since 2010 to prepare for thestandards, 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 firsttest aligned to the standards. The state is still in the implementation phase,and to remove the standards now would be disheartening to the district andschool leaders and teachers who have invested time and resources in thiseffort.

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