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Mississippi Veto Shows States' Diverse Political Responses to Common Core

Earlier this week, I highlighted Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant's public skepticism about a bill sent to him by the state legislature to initiate a review of the Common Core State Standards. On Thursday, Bryant moved from skepticism to opposition by vetoing Senate Bill 2161, which was originally drafted as a bill to repeal the standards. 

In a statement explaining his veto, Bryant, who came out against the standards last year, said that he would have signed the original "repeal" version of the bill. But alterations to the bill made by lawmakers mean that the state Board of Education wouldn't be forced to adopt new standards. Bryant, a Republican, said he found that unacceptable.

"I cannot in good conscience allow this bill ... to become law under the guise that it would lead to the demise of Common Core," he said in his statement.

Bryant is the first governor to veto a bill that would start a review of the common core. Two such bills in Missouri and North Carolina were signed last year by their respective governors. 

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, also a Republican, immediately criticized Bryant's decision, saying that the veto "ensures that common core will remain in Mississippi schools," according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Meanwhile, beyond Mississippi to the west, Arkansas has begun its own review of the common core at the direction of first-year Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson. A 16-member task force reviewing the common core will be led by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, also a Republican.

You might be thinking that it has become hard to track just what states are doing with respect to reconsidering or taking a second look at the common core. Fortunately, Dan Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislatures has a handy map tracking reviews, executive orders, and other state actions with respect to the standards. Click here for the most recent version of that common-core map; a version of the map updated April 23 is below, with the key included:


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