Common Core Under Fire: Mississippi Exits Key Test Group

AP Photo/David Wallis
AP Photo/David Wallis

Mississippi has withdrawn from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of the two federally funded Common Core test consortia.

According to the Clarion-Ledger, the state’s Board of Education issued a press release Friday about the exit from PARCC. Despite the withdrawal, however, the state is still using the Common Core standards, which were renamed “Mississippi’s College- and Career-Ready Standards.”

As Breitbart Texas reported Wednesday, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) had called for the repeal of Common Core and its aligned assessments in Mississippi. State House Speaker Phillip Gunn (R) introduced two measures this week to repeal the standards and sever the relationship with PARCC.

Mississippi state superintendent Carey Wright serves on the PARCC governing board, as do education officials from other member states. The withdrawal of Mississippi now leaves only 11 member states, plus the District of Columbia, at PARCC.

State education officials will now issue a formal request for proposals (RFP) for possible assessments for the 2015-2016 academic year.

“The new RFP process will give the state the opportunity to seek competitive, multi-year bids,” said John R. Kelly, chairman of the Board of Education, in a press release. “Our exit from PARCC will help ensure the process is open and transparent. Any assessment vendor may submit a bid for the contract provided they meet the RFP requirements and their assessment measures what students are learning in our classrooms.”

The Mississippi Department of Education had attempted to sign a multi-year contract with Pearson to provide the state’s assessment, but Mississippi’s Contract Review Board rejected it because it was not an open-bid contract.

“I’m encouraged this will give us the opportunity, like many other states, to competitively bid-out our student assessments, while maintaining the highest standards without federal interference,” Bryant said.

Kelly and Wright, however, have been highly critical of attempts to repeal the Common Core and withdraw from PARCC, mostly with comments related to the amount of time already invested in implementing Common Core.

“Hundreds of Mississippi educators had a hand in developing the test items, and more than 88,000 students in 513 schools and 140 districts field tested the PARCC assessment last spring,” they said in a statement in December. “These tests are the only assessments in the marketplace that have Mississippi’s voice and input that are aligned to the state’s College- and Career-Ready Standards.”

State Sen. Angela Hill (R), a lawmaker who has been a leader in the effort to repeal the Common Core standards and withdraw from PARCC, told Breitbart News the exit from the test consortium is a significant victory for conservatives.

“Getting out of PARCC is a great victory in a bigger battle,” Hill said. “We still must replace – not rename – the Common Core standards by integrating exemplary pre-Common Core standards from states such as Massachusetts, California, Texas, or Indiana. We must also work to protect our students from intensive data mining without parental knowledge or consent.”

“This is a victory for the Constitution and states’ rights,” Hill continued. “Conservative senators who endured the criticism and persevered for the people who encouraged us are still committed, and our work is not finished. It’s always counted as a loss if you never choose to fight. We chose to fight.”


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