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".