MDE Holds Public Hearing on Proposed Revisions to K-12 Standards for Social Studies | Mississippi Politics and Current Affairs
Sixty-six people were registered to speak at the event, those most concerned about the introduction of CRT into the school curriculum.
Earlier this month, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) proposed a new curriculum for College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) for Social Studies in Kindergarten Public Schools. in 12th grade. The Ministry had planned to implement the changes by the 2022-23 school year.
Notice of the proposed changes was given on December 16 and submitted to the office of the Mississippi Secretary of State, as required. Little was known about the proposed changes until questions were raised regarding the sources of the documents, particularly the National Council for Social Studies.
READ MORE: New social studies curriculum proposed by Mississippi Department of Education should raise eyebrows
Due to sufficient public outcry, MDE filed a Notice of Public Comment Hearing.
Today, the MDE held this public hearing before a full house in the Department of Agriculture auditorium. As of January 25, the registration deadline, 66 people had registered to speak.
Each speaker was given three minutes to present their points and were asked to indicate the standard number(s) and page number(s) of the proposed revisions on which they were commenting.
Speakers were current and retired teachers, parents and concerned family members, Mississippi residents, a political candidate for Congress, a former out-of-state elected official, current and former students, a minister, and more. No matter what organization they belonged to or what they represented, they wanted to make sure their voices were heard, most continued.
Concerns centered on the State Board of Education’s decision to make these changes behind closed doors, the removal of some critical story information, the lack of definitions of certain terms, and much more.
Speakers said the proposed revisions removed parts of the story, including natural law, terms such as “Constitution” and “patriotism,” and the concept of America’s Founding Fathers. They asked questions such as what was the “real reason” for changing the program and why the scriptures were removed from the program.
One speaker noted that schools need to focus on history and learn from our past, but the proposed changes would not allow this. Another said children will be able to benefit from increased access and resources.
Among the speakers was State Senator Michael McLendon (R). McLendon spoke about a bill he authored, SB 2113, which passed the Senate last week.
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McLendon said the bill states that no one is inferior or superior to another, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity or origin. He had previously said the bill was an administrative level change that he had been contacted by many constituents about.
The senator added during discussions on the floor that SB 2113 would not prevent students from learning history that relates to racism and slavery.
According to a document provided during the public comment hearing, the MDE, in consultation with Mississippi educators, periodically reviews and updates the state’s academic standards called the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards. Academic standards describe the skills and knowledge expected of students in each year and subject. However, local school districts set their own curriculum and choose their own teaching materials.
MDE says it convened more than 40 educators to participate in the 2021 Social Studies Standards Review process. They said the revisions clarified learning goals while the core standards remained the same.
The department said it made changes in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Committee for Civil Rights in Education, the Mississippi Council on Economic Education, and the Choctaw Indian Band of Mississippi. .
Those wishing to comment further on the standards may submit their comments in writing to MDE by February 4, 2022, by email to [email protected] or by mail to the Mississippi Department of Education, Attn: Jen Cornett, K-12 Social Studies Director, PO Box 771, Jackson, MS 39205.
You can read more about the National Council for Social Studies, an important part of the proposed framework, here.