Mississippi’s Bryant Vetoes Common Core Bill


Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has vetoed an anti-Common Core bill, arguing that it did not guarantee the standards would not be used in schools in the state.

SB 2161 would have created a 15-member committee that would research and recommend standards the state should implement to the state Board of Education.  The Senate denied a House provision that would have required 75% of the recommendations to be adopted by the board, writes Geoff Pender for The Clarion-Ledger.

“I remain firmly committed to ending Common Core in Mississippi,” Republican Bryant said in a statement on Thursday. “This bill does not accomplish that goal, and I cannot in good conscience sign it into law.”

While Common Core opponents commended his veto, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves criticized the effort, as he felt the measure was a way to ensure the use of the national standards came to an end in the state.  He said that vetoing the bill would leave the standards in place.

“Gov. Bryant’s veto of a bill that 93 legislative Republicans supported ensures that Common Core will remain in Mississippi schools,” Reeves said. “SB2161 ensured that student privacy would be protected, prohibited school districts from administering psychological or socio-emotional surveys, put in state law that PARCC tests could not be demanded by the state Department of Education and created a group of Mississippians – of which the governor had more appointments than anyone – to create a set of high standards for Mississippi school children.”

Common Core opponents pushed for a veto of the measure, instead asking for stronger legislation that would put an end to the use of Common Core standards in schools across Mississippi.

While opponents would like to see the Governor include the topic in any special session he calls this year, Bryant has said he has no plans to call a special session as of yet.

The Common Core standards are guidelines that suggest what students should know at the end of each grade level with regards to math and English, and have been adopted in over 40 states.  Mississippi adopted the standards in 2010 and have spent millions of dollars so far implementing them.

The Mississippi Economic Council had initially supported the standards as a way to help students in the state compete on a national level.  However, the group has not been as vocal in its support as the standards have come under fire.

In order to override the veto, a 2/3 supermajority vote would be needed.