"For Some Reason, Phil Bryant Thinks Feds Want to Educate Mississippi's Kids" by Politics Blog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Politics Blog

For Some Reason, Phil Bryant Thinks Feds Want to Educate Mississippi's Kids

Mississippi routinely lags the rest of the nation when it comes to educating or kids.

Apparently, Gov. Phil Bryant is under the impression that the federal government -- with everything it's dealing with related to the rollout of the health law -- now wants to try to fix Mississippi's public-education system.

He can probably relax. Mississippi officials haven't even seemed interested in educating Mississippi's kids, considering the chronic underfunding of the state's public-education formula in recent years. So it seems unlikely the feds are interested in taking on that task.

But this afternoon, Bryant issued an executive order "affirming Mississippi’s right and responsibility to define and implement its own public school standards and curricula" and making it clear that "under state law, this core function of state government cannot be ceded to the federal government."

According to a news release from Bryant's office, the order comes as on the heels of the state's implementation of Common Core State Standards, and affirms that:

-the state and its local public school districts, not the federal government, shall determine public school standards and curricula.

-the state and not the federal government shall select statewide assessments, and local school districts may implement additional assessments to monitor academic progress.

-no federal law or grant currently purports to mandate the adoption of any uniform, nationwide academic standards, curricula, or assessments.

-the state is under no obligation to comply with any future federal mandates for uniform academic standards, curricula or assessments.

-the collection of test data and other student information pertaining to academic performance shall comply with all laws that protect student and family privacy.

-the constitutional rights of Mississippi school children and their families will not be violated as result of federal education decisions.

-that, in accordance with applicable law, homeschool students are not bound by K-12 academic standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education.


833maple 4 years, 9 months ago

Posturing.... just simply political posturing and grandstanding about a non-issue. Smoke and mirrors.


js1976 4 years, 9 months ago

Funny, read up on Common Core and tell me that it's a "non-issue".


tomhead1978 4 years, 9 months ago

I see two possible interpretations of the executive order. Either:

(1) He is asserting power he legitimately has, in which case it serves no legitimate policy purpose (since he doesn't have to claim it), or

(2) He is asserting power he doesn't actually have, in which case it still serves no legitimate policy purpose (since he doesn't have the option of claiming it).

Executive orders are useful when they direct executive branch agencies to take specific policy steps. Truman's Executive Order 9981, integrating the U.S. armed forces, is a great historical example—he issued a specific and actionable order to people over whom he had unimpeded authority.

They can also be useful symbolically, when they reflect dissent or speak to a more general purpose. In this case, Bryant is once again claiming (as he has done re gun control and universal healthcare) the powers of nullification and interposition historically associated with segregationist governors. But this brings him no closer to actually having those powers, so it's more about his own public image than anything else.

Section 7 of the Mississippi State Constitution is clear: "The right to withdraw from the Federal Union on account of any real or supposed grievance, shall never be assumed by this state, nor shall any law be passed in derogation of the paramount allegiance of the citizens of this state to the government of the United States." That generally precludes nullification and interposition, as a matter of legislation. Ross Barnett attempted to circumvent this clause by relying on executive orders, which are not technically passed into law, but obviously the power of the office of governor can't exceed its statutory limits. Bryant surely knows this. I'll leave it to other folks to speculate on why he wants to pretend he doesn't.

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