Sunday, April 26, 2015

What does SB #2161 actually say?

The Common Core debate grew in intensity last week as Governor Bryant vetoed SB #2161.  Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves criticized the veto.  Senator Chris McDaniel then jumped into the fray with a press release issued by his United Conservatives Fund PAC.

Since the war has escalated into a battle of the talking points and press releases, the Kingfish decided to break down the bill for the readers as he suspects that few people have actually read the bill. Copy of bill. The purpose of this post is to stimulate a discussion on the actual bill itself.  Leave the talking points, name-calling, and bashing the politicians at home.  Discussion about the actual language in the bill would be welcome. 

Section 1.  This section merely establishes a Mississippi Commission on College and Career Readiness.   The commission will have 15 members and consist of parents, teachers, and political appointees with various criteria for nomination.  The section states the mission of the commission and its schedule as well.   The section is five pages and is mainly enabling legislation.

Section 2.  First mention of Common Core.  Section 2(2) states that the Board of Education "shall remove the Common Core copyright and any references to the Common Core Standards from the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards to ensure Mississippi's sovereign right to modify standards to best meet the needs of Mississippi's citizens."

Ok, it seems this paragraph removes CC standards from state standards.  The word "shall" is used.

Section 2(3) mandates that no state employee or representative will cede state control of educational standards as well as state control of the development of educational standards to the federal government or a private entity.    This section pretty much says educational standards are Mississippi's turf. 

Section 3.  This short section protects bars the sharing or sale of certain forms of student data without parental consent.  It states:

No personally identifiable data on students' or their families' religions, political party affiliations, biometric information or voting histories shall be shared with the federal government without parental consent. No personally identifiable student data shall be collected for the purpose of the development of commercial products or services without parental consent. No psychological or socio-emotional surveys shall be administered to students or completed by school personnel regarding a particular student without parental consent.
The language does not ban the collection of data.  It only bans the sharing or collection of the described data without parental consent.  It bans the purpose for the collection of the data, i.e. development of commercial products or services.  Thus it does not ban the collection of "personally identifiable student data" per se, just the collection for certain reasons. 

Section 4. Now the fun really starts.  The section orders each school district to "establish standards for graduation".  Section 4(1)(a) states

 Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, the State Department of Education shall not require school districts to administer the multistate Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test or any other consortia developed test.

Thus the state will not order school districts to use PARCC nor will the state use PARCC.  However, the bill does not ban school districts from using PARCC or similar tests.   The commandment "thou shalt not use PARCC" only applies to the state and not to local school boards.   Section 4 primarily covers graduation requirements.

Section 4(4) then delves into the realm of graduation tests:

(4) Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, students enrolled in Mississippi public schools may not be required to pass any end-of-course test administered under the Subject Area Testing Program as a requirement for graduation. The State Board of Education shall adopt a policy requiring the administration of those end-of-course tests mandated under the federal requirements of No Child Left Behind.

 Section 5 covers accreditation standards and grades for school districts.  The only change to current law is:

To have sixty percent (60%) of students scoring proficient and advanced on the assessments of the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards by 2016 with incremental increases of three percent (3%) each year thereafter.
 Section 6 deals with the establishment of a reading panel.  This section is concerned with implementation of the third grade reading standards and accountability.    There are no changes to current law other than a referral to the "Mississippi  College and Career Ready standards".


Anonymous said...

If I'm reading correctly, it lets the individual school districts set their own standards, and removes "common-core" from the state. Follow the money..

Anonymous said...

Section 1 is especially troubling to me as is the entire bill.

It is clearly poorly thought out and based on politics , not on a knowledge of education.

You have parents and political appointees outnumbering those with any real expertise child development or education. The educators are not likely to have much influence.

Making decisions based on anecdotal experience and opinions is not a good idea, yet those who have only that will carry the votes.

And, those on commissions in this state have a terrible history of just showing up, not taking time to learn about what is before them, and thus, not accomplishing much of anything.

The commission will be spoon fed information as are other commissions and if there's a learning curve at all, it will be a long time coming.

This bill creates another layer of bureaucracy with little authority over much of anything. It insures a local hodgepodge approach. And, it's clear there's no appreciation of what is needed to make a system, any system, functional.

There is no appreciation that Mississippi has to cooperate with the rest of the country and the world. The bill is isolationist.

Our children will have to meet requirements and standards nationally and internationally to prosper outside the state.

Not only that, we should want to attract the very best of the best to our state in the future. Just as we once discouraged professionals with better educations from competing with the natives ( the pass we gave Ole Miss law graduates and the bizarre Bar exam in the past is the easiest example). This seems very much in that dysfunctional tradition. Again, Mississippi will have problems with reciprocal recognition from other places.

This bill is not about making sure our children have the skills needed in adulthood. It is not based on any successful educational models anywhere else in the world. But, rather, it is a political reaction to a politically created issue.

This bill should be great for all the parents who don't want their children to leave the farm or go to MIT or Yale or the Sorbonne.

Of course, there's also the potential negative impact on our IHLs over time as politically , they will have to accept in state students and lower their requirements thus lowering their standards and standing among universities.

Using education as a political tool without any long term thought about the impact on actually educating children is what got us into this mess.

The idea that we improve education by doing the same damn thing again, reacting to emotional political agendas , is going to fix what's broken is beyond stupid.

We didn't think of the impact on the children before and we aren't thinking of them now!

Two wrongs will not make this right!!!!

Anonymous said...

So many words...on a dead bill.

Anonymous said...

Blah, blah, blah

Anonymous said...

"shall remove the Common Core copyright and any references to the Common Core Standards from the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards to ensure Mississippi's sovereign right"

I may be misreading, but this section deals with the removal of the term "common core". The copyrighted phrase itself. You can't say the phrase "common core" or reference it in Mississippi's standards. But it does not change anything. It does not remove the common core standards. It does remove the label "common core".

You can call a dog a chicken, but it's still a dog.

I say this all honestly and without sarcasm.

Am I misinterpreting the language?

Kingfish said...

Good point.

Cut Off The Snakes Head NOW said...

Someone above bemoans the notion that parents and appointees will outnumber 'educators' on the 'panel'. I, on the other hand, celebrate that intention.

We remain 50th in most educational metrics. During all of our history (in this state), 'educators' have designed the wheels, engineered the machines that make the wheels, ruled on all the components that make the wheels move and rated the effectiveness of the wheels.

There is far too much (unneeded) attention being played to 'Data that is personally identifiable'. It's a red herring to suggest that somebody at a desk in D.C. (or anywhere else) intended to use any data in such a manner. On the other hand, if a student were to answer a question with 'my dad has abused me for years', that personally identifiable information is required to be reported. The language of the bill makes that illegal.

And, at the same time, having close affiliation with several educators who are already mired knee-deep in testing (that means data collection), I can tell you most of it is wasted motion, unneeded negotiation of minutia and exhausting exercises in futility.

Many of our public schools just last week completed five full days of unneeded and inconsequential testing (data collection). I asked those educators why they had done it and each one answered the same: It gives us our funding.

I favor the total elimination of the entire concept of 'common core' and want to see a bill that will meet that result. If a 'program' does not enhance a student's learning experience it should not have a place. Think of it like the Census Bureau. What good is a ten year census other than to employ part timers, ensure a bloated, perpetually funded bureaucracy, provide data tables to be poured over by people who seek averages and justify the wasteful spending of future millions of dollars on bogus programs innacurately assumed to deal with imaginary problems that arise from data trends. None of it amounts to a Tinker's Damn.

Anonymous said...

10.15am You make my points and the ho hummers are just too lazy to read and too intellectually challenged to attack the arguments.

You would throw out all of Common Core based probably on the new math approach or a general mistrust on the federal government.

I agree there is too much testing but there have to be some measures to see if our children and our schools are meeting basic standards.

You apparently have no clue which testing is good and which are repetitive band aids added by the political parties to make it look like they are actually doing something.

My main point is that as long as the debate on education is driven by " feelings" ,be they your personal experience or your political beliefs, rather than knowing a damn thing about how to educate or create a functional system, education will continue to get worse.

Or perhaps you are one of those who resents the educated or who doesn't want public education at all!

IF one is truly educated and smart, you learn to keep silent on subjects you have not studied! You know for an opinion to be valuable enough to share, it should be based on knowledge not feelings or anecdotal experiences!

Anonymous said...

I concur with 9:08.

Cut Off The Snakes Head Now said...

11:58 is obviously among the crowd of state employees who seek job stability in an increasing and failed bureacracy. He/she attacked me personally at least three times.

First, I base my understand and assessment of Common Core on talking to people who are involved in it, not on feelings or anecdotal experience. Discussing Common Core with people who are mired in it is far from anecdotal.

Second, as I have said before on here, Common Core is not or should not be a political football. Politics has nothing to do with my assessment of this debacle, although I question whether that may be the case for the wordy and leaned 11:58.

Lastly; to accuse me of 'mistrusting the federal government' is defacto admission that the whole ruse is nothing more than a federal mandate to control, tabulate data derived from and serve as master over the minds of our school children.

Anonymous said...

This idea that only 'wing nut' conservatives have valid points against common core is a blatant lie.

My takeaway is that it's problems lie in where it's implemented. It's all local. If your child just so happens to go to a great school, then your child will be okay. If your child goes to a horrible school, then you are in for a LONG LONG headache and so is your child.

One liberal in New York called it child abuse. Implementing this with a hoarde of inept teachers across gammut IS the problem.

By the same token, my little brother in Tennessee is having no problem with common core because he is in a great school district by TENNESSEE standards.

The problem isn't sex Ed. The problem isn't data collection. The problem is the people who are implementing this in our state by and large have no business teaching in a classroom.

Lastly, this is do nothing bill. Common core isn't going away. If we want money for schools, then we have to go along with 'the program'.

Amazed At The Ignorance said...

"If we want money for schools, then we have to go along with 'the program'."

And THAT is reason enough to rest the case for prohibiting this system from taking over our schools.

That somebody thinks his relative in a Tennessee school is progressing well, with no issues, under Common Core standards is irrelevant. Children do not know one damned thing about the dynamics or mandates that drive their education systems. Not one damned thing.

Most of us were out of school for at least a decade before we realized what drove the system. Some have yet to realize it.

The fact that Common Core is intended to be and is designed as a federal mandate is quite enough to warrant its abandonment.

Anonymous said...

If we want money for schools, then we have to go along with 'the program'.

No doubt you are for the erosion of our freedoms, rights and a total survelliance state also.

Anonymous said...

4:17 If you are correct , then why aren't you clamoring for raising teacher standards????

I don't think all of common core is good, but this anti-common core thing is about politics where one always throws out the baby with the bath water!

Anonymous said...

8:47 pm Some of us are pragmatic. We think it's foolish to cut off our nose to spite our face!

Some of us believe that no one person and no one group has , in the history of mankind, been always right and listening to ideas different from our own might be useful.

Some of us think decisions should be based on the best factual information available and not knee jerk ,emotional reactions fed to us by political operatives!

We aren't threatened by logic or reason and can defend our strongly held positions on an issue without resorting absurd inferences, fear mongering, name calling, attacking the messenger and all the other lame tactics we learned in high school were signs someone didn't know crap about the subject at hand!

Anyone who thinks only a conservative or a liberal or a Democrat or a Republican is always right , at best, suffers from convenient memory loss given the absolutely awful results all have foist upon us or is a fool!

Anonymous said...

So who is in the right here - Phil or Tate?

Anonymous said...

Under NO scenario is Phil right. He was absent from the debate during the Legislative Session and vetoed the bill simply because he was convinced that his veto would hurt Tate. And he threw every Republican in the Legislature under the bus while doing so.

If you believe any bill that passes the Legislature should say EXACTLY what you want it to say and if it does not, then you should be against it, then Tate is in the wrong.

If you believe that legislating is a process in which compromise is sometimes necessary (compromise between multiple conservative Republicans in this case), and that if you get 75-80 percent of what you want you should be pleased (though not satisfied), then Tate is right.

Takin' A Look At Tater said...

3:38; What you seem to be suggesting is that the Lt. Governor engaged in compromise, wisdom and sound legislating when he pushed a bill that did little more than promise to take a look at things down the road. How in the name of Okie's Goat is that good legislation and effective use of time and salaries?

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Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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