Gov. Phil Bryant owes an apology to the state Board of Education, our public schools, their teachers and their students for his latest political demagoguery about efforts to raise our education standards.
The governor, apparently believing he had let Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal one-up him in that department, last week called Common Core a “failed program.” Common Core is a set of academic standards developed by the National Governors’ Association and top state education officials to improve education skills of our students.
Jindal last week issued an executive order trying to stop the Common Core standards from being implemented by educators in Louisiana. Some extremist conservative groups have suggested it is an attempt by the federal government to takeover public schools. It actually is a state-led initiative and Haley Barbour, Mississippi governor at the time, was a strong supporter of the upgraded standards.
Making our public school curriculum more rigorous is important so our students – and our nation – can better compete with students from around the world. 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.
Bryant’s comments caused our state Board of Education Chairman Wayne Gann of Corinth and Superintendent of Education Carey Wright to issue statements defending the standards, which will be a part of our public schools this year.
Bryant knows better. He is not stupid. But he again has let political expediency and opportunism override common sense. Mississippi needs more leadership and less political blather.