Grassroots activists who oppose the Common Core standards are not only up against many lawmakers happy to have federal dollars flowing into their states’ education programs. They are also dealing with politicians eager to please their local Chamber of Commerce and other business and industry groups who see Common Core as a means for government to assure them of a constant supply of workers for years to come.
Activists fighting to repeal the Common Core need a state lawmaker on their side who understands that his or her role is to push back against federal intrusion into states and reject seemingly enticing opportunities that could compromise states’ rights by inviting in further regulation and oversight by the federal government.
In Mississippi, that lawmaker is State Sen. Angela Hill (R). A former science teacher, Hill recognized the dangers of the controversial nationalized standards long before others did and began educating citizens and lawmakers about them.
Hill, along with other conservative state senators, joined forces in a “rumble” on Wednesday against the Mississippi political establishment over a bill that would take the first step in repealing the Common Core standards and exiting the state from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC), one of the two federally funded consortia that are creating tests aligned with the standards.
As USA Today reported, Hill’s own amendment to a bill brought forward by the establishment’s Sen. Videt Carmichael (R) would have required the adoption of a commission’s recommendations on new standards and prohibited any form of “rebrand” of the Common Core.
“I believe more experts in Mississippi should be involved in writing academic standards for our students,” Hill told the Clarion-Ledger. “This is a good first step in killing Common Core and creating better standards.”
After intense debate, however, Hill’s amendment failed when establishment Sen. Gray Tollison (R), chairman of the Education Committee, urged his colleagues to vote against it by using the now commonplace argument that the state has already spent time and money on Common Core implementation — a sign the establishment has no desire to repeal the standards.
Consequently, the legislation that passed simply creates a commission that will make recommendations but does not require the state Board of Education to implement those recommendations. Understandably, conservative lawmakers have realistic concerns that the commission will have no real power and its recommendations will fall to the wayside.
Undaunted, Hill told Breitbart News that the fight is not over. In fact, in January, she said she, her conservative colleagues, and her constituents are “ready to fight” to repeal the controversial standards. In addition, she challenged the now Republican-led Congress to acknowledge that the Common Core is an overreach by the federal government into an area that is reserved for the states and localities by the Constitution.
“We can keep doing this, state by state,” she added, “but, by this time, Republicans in Congress have to see what Common Core is all about.”
Laura Van Overschelde, chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, told Breitbart News that Hill is “adamant.”
“Senator Hill has been a great and fully determined leader to expose Common Core for what it is,” Van Overschelde said, “a fully top-down, one- size-fits-all effort, to indoctrinate our children for the purposes of developing a global workforce, completely separated from traditional American values.”
Van Overschelde added that Hill has traveled throughout the state to speak with small and large groups of parents, teachers, retired educators, grandparents, and many others.
“Sadly, the state legislators have widely been absent from these forums, except Rep. Mark Baker, who has recently begun to understand how dangerous Common Core is,” she said. “Rep. Baker’s wife is a teacher in Rankin County, so he has been informed by his wife about the standards and has been helping with legislation in the House of Representatives to get rid of the assessment consortium, PARCC.”
“Senator Hill fully intends to push for legislation – perhaps through both chambers of the Mississippi legislature – and to work with Rep. Baker to ensure that PARCC is eliminated,” Van Overschelde said.
Emmett McGroarty, education director at the American Principles Project (APP), told Breitbart News that Hill’s expertise and understanding of what Common Core entails is known beyond Mississippi.
“Senator Angela Hill is an inspiration and beacon of hope for mothers and fathers across the country,” McGroarty said. “She recognizes that the Common Core Standards are of poor quality, and that they lock children into an inferior education.”
“Hill is courageously fighting the good fight, and ultimately she will be victorious on behalf of the parents and children of Mississippi,” he added.
Similarly, Jane Robbins, senior fellow at APP, said, “Angela Hill is the kind of legislator all parents want — one who will go to the mat to defend their children’s interests, regardless of how many influential forces pressure her to back off.”