State school board member calls lieutenant governor's ideas "foolish" for recreating standards

State school board member calls lieutenant governor's ideas "foolish" for recreating standards

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, with support from Governor Phil Bryant, said earlier this month he wanted to create a task force to create higher educational standards in Mississippi in place of Common Core, which was fully implemented this year.

State board of education member Bill Jones of Petal said he does not anticipate an appeal and said it would be a timely process.

"To undo what we've already started doing or start over... is really quite foolish," said Jones.

Reeves said a red flag was raised for him when Oklahoma's No Child Left Behind funding was pulled due to their new standards after opting out of Common Core; however, that funding was reinstated when the state's standards were reviewed and approved.

"What happened in Oklahoma recently convinced me that the Obama administration and the United States Department of Education have hijacked Common Core," he said at a meeting in Jackson on December 1.

Jones, however, said that Reeves and others have "created a myth" that Common Core is controlled by the government and said it is "right near insanity."

Although the state Senate failed to pass legislation in the 2014 session to repeal Common Core, area senators Joey Fillingane (R- Dist. 41) and Billy Hudson (R- Dist. 45) said they would vote against the standards if a bill were to come forward in 2015.

"I agree we need higher standards," said Hudson, "but it does not necessarily need to be called Common Core."

Representatives Toby Barker (R- Dist. 102) and Larry Byrd (R- Dist. 104) did not give a yes or no when asked if they supported the standards, but they did both agree that the state needs higher standards.

Byrd, who lives in Petal, said he has not had constituents complain to him about the standards, and he would base his vote on his constituents' needs.

Jones said the Common Core debate has became political to the point of being a campaign issue for some in the state.

"Now they find themselves in order to win a Tea Party Primary, they have to be opposed to standards that are really beneficial to the children of this state," he said.

Jones said the state board does not plan on moving away from the standards, which are also referred to as College and Career Readiness Standards, and said it will be a "knock down drag out fight if we have to defend what we've implemented and what teachers and school districts have fought so hard for the last four years."