At the meeting were many republican officials at city, county, and state levels. A popular conversation topic was Common Core. Governor Phil Bryant recently released an executive order on Common Core, declaring that the state controls curriculum in Mississippi classrooms. Michael Watson, a Mississippi State Senator, says, "The key is it spoke to the heart of Common Core but it did not stop Common Core." Legislators against the system believe the order was a great first step, but that the controversial system should be stopped completely to preserve local control. Tony Smith, a Mississippi State Senator, says, "Let our own people develop the standards for Mississippi because we know what’s best for Mississippi, not some outside group." Watson also says, "If you’re for federal intrusion into our education system, that’s a bad thing." Sandra McKiernon, a former teacher, says, "I'm not opposed to Common Core. Some of the teachings I'm a bit concerned about." McKiernon was a teacher for 40 years and says people need to better understand the system. She says, "They can't just throw this on the teachers and the educators and not let the public understand what's going on." State legislators agree that awareness is key, but despite the governor's declaration, believe the only answer is to stop the system altogether.
Watson also says, "If you do the research and look at the facts, there's no way in the world people would say Common Core is good for us." The Governor's order does not block the system's implementation, and local residents believe it isn’t enough. Bea Harrison, a concerned resident, says, "A compromise is not acceptable. We don’t want that. We want to be able to educate our children in our communities and have the parents be in control of their learning, not the federal government, not the state government, but the people themselves.” Mississippi adopted common core in 2010 in an effort to make the state educational system competitive nationally and internationally. Should the system be implemented, it will be fully installed by 2014.