The state of Missouri has just become the latest state to adopt a new set of education regulations which will replace the national Common Core standards. Indeed, on Tuesday, then, the state joined a group of states to ditch the benchmarks.
After great backlash from more than 3,600 educators, lawmakers, and academic researchers, a panel of teachers and parents reviewed the state’s education goals to adopt these new standards.
“Whether they agree or disagree with the outcome, it was a true participatory process,” explains Missouri school board member Joe Driskill. He was originally uncertain if new math standards would be specific and rigorous enough. “It has produced something that is uniquely Missourian.”
Anne Gassel is a leader of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core advocacy group. She has worked with both the middle and the high school math panel and strongly believes these that while these new standards are, indeed, an improvement, there are still some obstacles. For example, she argues that the new English standards remain quite similar to those of Common Core and what they have finally approved is very different from what was originally proposed.
“Whether they’re the same as Common Core or not was not what was really critical to us,” Gassel notes. “What was critical to us was that there was a process in place that would allow the state to set its own standards.”
And so, the new standards approve goals for what children should be learning between kindergarten and 12th grade. Obviously students should be learning math and English—both covered by Common Core standards—but a quality education should also include social studies and science. While there are similarities, the new standards put more emphasis and researching language arts and also restructuring benchmarks in the mathematics fields. The standards also include cursive writing for students at the elementary level.
In response to this shift, Missouri Association of School Administrators spokesman David Luther remarks on the importance of consistent standards.
He says, “It’s just incredibly difficult for districts to meet the educational needs of students when the targets are ever-changing. In that regard, we feel like this is a step in right direction.”
Of course, the next step for the state would be to develop tests that can match the new objectives in order to both qualify and quantify their efficacy, tests which will not be administered until the spring of 2018.