Most Mississippi public school children this school year are to be taught using similar core standards as those in other states.
The standards, called Common Core, seek to standardize much of the curriculum among the states. It’s an effort to make our public schools more rigorous so students – and our nation – can better compete with students from around the world.
Forty-five states are implementing Common Core, which was developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of State School Officers. It was a state-led initiative and Haley Barbour, Mississippi governor at the time, was a strong supporter of the upgraded standards.
Boosting expectations and standards is particularly important in Mississippi where our public education system generally ranks at or near the bottom in most measurements among the states.
School administrators, teachers and students are understandably nervous about this new challenge, but most seem to understand the importance of moving forward.
So what’s the problem? A few national conservative Republicans, from talk-show hosts to lawmakers, have attacked Common Core as an effort by the federal government to take over education. The fact that it is a state-led program seems to have eluded them.
Not to be left out, 11 Mississippi state senators calling themselves the “Conservative Coalition,” have joined in, trying to make a problem where there is none. We hope our area legislators will steer clear of this political hucksterism.
As challenging as it will be, our state needs to keep moving ahead with the Common Core standards.