April 23, 2015. (Laurel, MS.) – The United Conservatives Fund (UCF) leadership team today released the following statements thanking Governor Phil Bryant for his veto of Senate Bill 2161. UCF began three weeks ago uniting conservative groups, working directly with parent led anti-Common Core groups and coordinating efforts across the state to push for a veto of the legislation, an effort that resulted in several thousand calls and emails.
“I commend Governor Bryant for being willing to stand up and state his position against Common Core and to veto this terrible legislation,” said Senator Chris McDaniel, Chairman of UCF. “Our UCF team did a great job bringing together conservatives and parents groups like MSFREE to get this done. Ultimately, the credit for this goes to the thousands of parents, grandparents, teachers and citizens of the state who took the time to make their voices heard. Now we must stay united and get to work to kill Common Core in Mississippi, once and for all.”
“As I said from the senate floor on March 31 when we voted on the bill, SB 2161 accomplishes nothing except to give politicians cover in an election year,” McDaniel said. “Mississippians want elected officials to stand up and say whether they are for Common Core or against Common Core, not to develop commissions and boards to do our job for us.”
Senator Melanie Sojourner was one of the votes against SB 2161 in the senate and the first to publicly call on Governor Bryant to veto the legislation. She has warned over the past three weeks that if the legislation was allowed to become law it could have the effect of locking the Common Core Standards in place and make repeal tougher in the future.
“The groups of concerned parents, grandparents and teachers have worked hard educating the public on the realities of Common Core. They know that by forming a commission, as SB 2161 would have done, not only do we create another layer of government, but we empower politicians and bureaucrats to manipulate the process behind the scenes and away from the watchful eye of the tens of thousands of citizens who have fought against Common Core,” Sojourner said. “SB 2161 forms a commission that doesn’t have power to force the Mississippi of Department of Education to accept any recommendations, and MDE officials have stated their absolute dedication to Common Core. SB 2161 is nothing more than a way for politicians in Jackson to get rid of a thorny political issue without actually doing anything. With this veto Governor Bryant has shown the leadership in Mississippi that many others across the country will look to.”
UCF Director of Policy and Communications Keith Plunkett has researched and written extensively about the dangers of Common Core since 2011. He says there are loopholes in the language of SB 2161 that leaves open the implementation of core-aligned standards and doesn’t address the three major concerns of parents.
“SB 2161 doesn’t guarantee Mississippi students won’t be subjected to consortia-driven testing that hands power over to unelected and unaccountable shadow groups and quasi-governmental entities,” said Plunkett.“It doesn’t protect Mississippi students and their families from the collection and sharing of personal information with privately owned companies, and it doesn’t end Common Core, it simply renames it and gives it cover in the form of a politically appointed board. The truth is that MDE wants core-alignment and they want to share students personal data, because they want access to funds that come with it. They are more than willing to trade students future for the money. The Department of Education doesn’t own Mississippi students, and I’m glad Gov. Bryant has made that clear with this veto.”