August 21, 2013 10:18:54 AM
JACKSON -- The state Department of Education is holding a series of public meetings to tell people about new academic standards that Mississippi and most other states are starting to put in place.
Lynn House, the interim state superintendent of education, spoke Monday night in Jackson and Tuesday night in Oxford.
Mississippi, 44 other states and the District of Columbia have adopted Common Core standards, which supporters say are designed to better prepare American students for college and careers.
Opponents, including tea party members and other small-government conservatives, question whether the standards are needed and how they will be applied in Mississippi.
House says Common Core standards are national, but they were not created by the federal government. Rather, the ideas came from groups such as the National Governors Association. Mississippi will start enacting the standards next year.
"We're moving to national standards because we believe it is the right thing to do for the state," House told about 60 people Monday in Jackson, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
The Mississippi Senate Conservative Coalition said Tuesday that it had sent House a letter with 14 questions about how Common Core standards were developed.
"There are numerous questions that are unanswered as to how the Education Department arrived at the conclusion that this is good for Mississippi, and what was done to get feedback from parents," Sen. Angela Hill, R-Picayune, said in a news release. "There are conflicting statements about integration and alignment of these standards and the policies that support them that must be addressed before this should be allowed to move forward."
Department of Education spokeswoman Patrice Guilfoyle said House has not seen the letter and had no immediate comment Tuesday.