This State Just Took a Giant Step Away from the Common Core Curriculum
With the passage of two bills by the House Education Committee, the state of Mississippi recently moved closer to separating itself from Common Core and its associated testing consortium, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.
The legislation will now go to the full House, where observers expect it will pass.
House Bill 156 uncouples Mississippi from the federal Common Core requirements it adopted five years ago along with most other states. Although it doesn’t repeal the controversial K-12 education standards, the legislation does allow the state to change those standards without seeking permission from the federal government, said committee Chairman John Moore, R-Brandon.
It also changes all reference to “Common Core” with “Mississippi College and Career-Ready Standards.”
House Bill 385 severs Mississippi’s ties with PARCC, a consortium of states that jointly developed the end-of-year assessments testing student knowledge on Common Core-aligned curriculum.
Mississippi students in grades 3-12 will be tested this year on PARCC-designed assessments, but they’re likely to be tested next year on those developed by ACT. That’s because the bill limits the state to contracting with a private entity having at least 50 years’ experience administering nationally recognized college-entry readiness exams.
It also will “substantially” reduce the number of tests students are required to take throughout the academic year, said state Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon.
“The objective is to opt out of PARCC and make ACT the assessment, to remove the federal attachment and to give control of our curriculum to the local school districts,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn in an earlier interview with The Clarion-Ledger.
Gunn filed both bills, along with a third bill that the committee also passed Wednesday. That bill, HB 395, puts into law the existing practice of local school districts developing their own curriculum based on state standards.
Some lawmakers worry the bill does not go far enough. Others are concerned Common Core is not being replaced with another set of standards. One legislator said the state had invested four years into the Common Core curriculum, and scrapping it could incur significant costs.
Republican lawmakers and a statewide group of parents have made it their mission to withdraw from Common Core, which has been a hot-button issue in Mississippi as it has in many other areas of the country.