MS Gov. Phil Bryant Makes Break from Thad Cochran's Common Core Position

MS Gov. Phil Bryant Makes Break from Thad Cochran's Common Core Position

Just one day after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) moved to exit his state from the controversial Common Core standards and their aligned PARCC assessments, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) announced Thursday that the nationalized standards are in jeopardy in his state, as well.

“I think Common Core is a failed program, and the United States is beginning to realize that,” Bryant said, according to The Clarion-Ledger. “Governors all across America are realizing states can do it better.”

Last year, Bryant issued an executive order that declared Mississippi would keep the Common Core standards, provided no federal money was accepted for their implementation. Mississippi’s department of education has already begun implementation of the controversial standards, which receive significant support from the Mississippi Economic Council.

Ironically, though a big supporter of incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in a tough primary race with ardent Common Core opponent state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Bryant is abruptly shifting his stance on Common Core, while Cochran has been a supporter of the nationalized standards initiative.

Cochran was on board with federal stimulus intervention into Common Core from the start. The veteran U.S. senator even sent a letter to President Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to “express [his] support for the Mississippi Department of Education’s application for the Race to the Top Fund,” from which came competitive grants that lured states into adopting Common Core.  

“The Mississippi proposal will accelerate the reforms necessary to ensure a future of quality educational opportunities for all students throughout the state, especially those with social and economic disadvantages,” Cochran wrote, clearly on board with the social engineering goals of the Common Core standards.

Cochran ended his letter asking Duncan to let him know if he could be of further assistance to him.

Heather Fox, founder of DeSoto County Reform, told Breitbart News that she is sure Bryant is making the shift away from Common Core because “the writing is on the wall for Mississippi politicians.”

“The people have been doing everything they can to get the politicians to hear their voices and it has fallen on deaf ears,” Fox said.

She added:

Thad Cochran should have been a guaranteed win, but we see how that has played out. Because of the Senate race, there are a lot of elected officials asking what has gone wrong and are they next on the chopping block. Common Core is a huge problem for so many in the state. You can also look at this Senate race as the race between the man that wrote a letter in support of Common Core and the man that chaired the coalition to put a stop to it! State leaders are looking at this race as a sign that nothing is a guarantee for them and letting them know which side of the fence they better be on if they plan on running for re-election.

“With the news of Jindal, I’m sure Bryant has to really think long and hard about our state’s position on Common Core,” Fox said. “Schools are losing teachers like crazy, and parents are looking into private schools or homeschooling more every day. Education issues are at the forefront, and a lot of these state leaders have their own campaigns coming up.”

Mississippi state Sen. Phillip Gandy (R) told Breitbart News that several members of the state’s Senate Conservative Coalition met with Bryant last year, expressing concern about Common Core to him.

“He listened, but I don’t believe he had really studied the issue carefully,” Gandy said. “With the NGA and all the education establishment on board, I think that he was willing to give it some time. Unfortunately, the legislation that was introduced in the 2014 legislative session to pause Common Core died without being given serious consideration.”

“I think more and more people are beginning to understand just what Common Core is and that it really is not all that it is presented to be,” Gandy continued. “With conservatives continuing to make the case against Common Core, and state after state pulling out of Common Core, I believe that Governor Bryant began to give it serious consideration. Mississippi can do better than Common Core.”

Similarly, state Sen. Michael Watson (R) told Breitbart News that he is glad Bryant is “ready to join the conservatives in the Mississippi Senate who have long voiced our opposition to Common Core.”

With the groundswell here in Mississippi and nationally reaching a fever pitch, our efforts are gaining steam,” Watson said. “Sadly, some of Mississippi’s leaders, including the lieutenant governor and Senate chairman of education, still support Common Core and the federal government’s overreach into Mississippi’s classrooms.”