The Mississippi Department of Education presented its FY16 budget request, as well. The group outlined the agency’s goals and its legislative priorities, which include funding and/or support for: the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), teacher supply funds, public school building funds, the Literacy-Based Promotion Act of 2013 (Third Grade Reading Gate),expansion of early childhood education pilot programs, improvements to and increased technology systems, state special schools, College and Career Ready State Standards, test integrity, a Principal’s Academy, high school innovation programs and appointed superintendents.
Education bills focused on ensuring Mississippi’s control of teaching standards and curriculum passed out of the Education Committee and onto the House calendar.
House Bill 395 (HB395) gives curriculum control to local school districts. Enactment of this measure would require the Mississippi Department of Education (DOE) to continue to hand down the Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks to local districts that would then have the autonomy over the development of curriculum. It passed by a vote of 92-25.
House Bill 156 (HB156) uncouples Mississippi from the federal government regarding education standards. The language in the bill changes the name of the current standards from Common Core Standards to Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards, which the state board currently uses. Adoption of this measure would give the state ownership of the standards and control to change or amend them as deemed necessary. HB156 passed by a vote of 95-21.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R‑TN), chair of the Senate education committee is moving forward aggressively with respect to reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). He has released a draft rewrite bill (http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/AEG15033.pdf ) to engage discussion. It is reported that he hopes to finalize bill language and schedule committee consideration by late February. Public comment is to be directed to Senator Alexander's staff by Monday, February 2 at fixingNCLB@help.senate.gov .