Mississippi state Sen. Michael Watson blasted a local school superintendent on Facebook earlier this week, accusing the leader of threatening teachers who opposed the Common Core State Standards.
The Common Core State Standards -- a set of education benchmarks that have been adopted in more than 40 states, including Mississippi -- have recently come under fire in the state by politicians like Watson, who previously wrote in the Mississippi Press that they perpetuate “one-size-fits-all national testing experiment.”
In his fight against the Common Core, Watson directed vitriol toward Superintendent Dr. John Buchanan earlier this week. According to local outlet WDAM-TV, Watson wrote the following post on his private Facebook Monday:
“I just had a friend let me know that Dr. John Buchanan, Superintendent of Petal School District, held a State of the District meeting this morning and announced that anyone who is against Common Core needed to come to him so he could help them find a job outside the Petal School District. Apparently, people against Common Core are not welcome in “his” district. Teachers were then asked if they supported CC were required to publicly say yes. So, support Common Core, or lose your job. Many have asked why more teachers aren’t speaking out. This is Exhibit A.”
However, according to the outlet’s coverage of the meeting, Buchanan never made such statements.
"The simple fact is the standards that we are tasked to teach our students are Common Core State Standards," Buchanan reportedly said at the meeting. "For whatever reason, it appears as though it has become a political issue. I'm not a political guy, I'm a school guy."
Still, a number of right-wing outlets and groups have jumped behind Watson’s Facebook post and condemned Buchanan. A post on the Facebook group Stop Common Core in Mississippi calls on members to call the superintendent and “tell him bullying and silencing teachers is unacceptable.” A comment on the post goes so far as to compare Buchanan to Adolf Hitler.
The fight surrounding the Common Core has been heating up in Mississippi as of late. A group of state senators formed a coalition last year that is dedicated, in part, to stopping the Standards, according to the Clarion Ledger. At the same time, Mississippi’s new superintendent of education, Carey Wright, has said she supports the Common Core.