/MDE holds hearing on social studies standards

MDE holds hearing on social studies standards

Mississippi News Nonprofit Hundreds of people met at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum Friday morning to voice their opinion on possible changes that the Mississippi Department of Education might make to its social studies standards. The department was forced to retract many of the changes after strong opposition. The State Board of Education started the revision process for Mississippi’s K-12 social science standards last month and received enthusiastic feedback via social media. Teachers provide feedback and the department updates the standards periodically. The last revision was in 2018. MDE stated that teachers felt certain standards needed to be more clear while others contained too many examples. This led to the 2021 revisions. Many details, names, and events are removed in the proposed revisions. Some were worried about the removal of names of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Medgar Evers. Others felt that the new standards incorrectly refer to the United States’s system of government as a democracy rather than a constitutional republic. MDE officials stated that they wouldn’t be removing any examples from the standards based on feedback received. This included lists of names, legislation, and court cases. Marian Allen, the executive director of Laurel-Jones County Black History Museum said that she was prepared to make persuasive arguments. However, MDE officials stated that they would not remove any examples from the standards based on feedback received. This included lists of names, organizations, legislation, and court cases. Many speakers discussed their concerns with critical race theory. Sen. Michael McLendon (R-Hernando), is the author of a Senate Bill that would ban teaching it. McLendon stated that his bill will ensure that no child is told they are “inherently inferior or superior” based upon any demographic information. READ MORE: All Black Mississippi senators walked out while their white counterparts voted to ban critical racism theory. Others discussed the importance of making sure that specific instances of racial discrimination in Mississippi’s history are included within the standards for students to study and discuss. Alexandria Drake, a U.S. History teacher at JPS–Tougaloo Early Collegiate High School, brought ten students along to the hearing. Her students were asked their thoughts about the hearing. They discussed comments that went against the rules and how important it is to respect all religions in public schools. Ivory Phillips, a Jackson State University dean emeritus, said, “I have been really disgusted because I have seen/heard so much hatred.” She has been teaching since 1963. “I was hoping that they were coming closer together.” Send your comments in writing to Jen Cornett, 359 N. West Street Post Office Box 771 Jackson MS 39205-0771 or email jcornett@mdek12.org. Deadline to submit comments is February 4, at 5 p.m. The board will hear public comments at its March 17 meeting.