WAYNE RODOLFICH: What’s really behind the commotion over Common Core?

State senators Michael Watson and Angela Hill have co-written a bill to repeal Common Core State Standards. However, they voted in favor of Common Core Literacy on House Bill No. 1593 in 2012 (as sent to the governor).

Their current bill calls for a complete repeal of the Common Core State Standards and setting up an advisory board selected by Gov. Phil Bryant. The advisory board language is troubling and little more than a scheme to usurp the legally sanctioned authority of the Mississippi State Board of Education. It also ignores the language and law cited in Executive Order 1333 issued on Dec. 16, 2013, by Gov. Bryant.

The order says that in furtherance of state policies, state law provides that the State Board of Education shall adopt and maintain a curriculum and a course of study to be used by the public school districts that is designed to prepare the state’s children and youth to be productive, informed, creative citizens, workers and leaders and shall provide an instructional program and establish guidelines and procedures for managing such programs in the public schools within the school districts throughout the state.

The PEER Report issued on June 6, 2014, which reviewed the CCSS at the request of the Mississippi Legislature, also outlines the Board of Education’s authority.

It found that there is no current requirement that the Board of Education go through the Legislature to adopt new education policy. State law permits the Board of Education to adopt a “course of study to be used in public schools and districts.” This gives the board authority to set academic standards without specific legislative involvement or approval.