JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The State Board of Education (SBE) voted on social study standards and a proposed weapons policy update.

The first vote was to begin the Administrative Procedures Act process on the proposed 2022 Mississippi College and Career-Readiness Standards (MCCRS) for Social Studies, which outlines the skills and knowledge expected of students in each grade and subject.

The 2022 standards update the 2018 standards. Just like the current social studies standards, the 2022 standards focus on the mastery of the five social studies strands: civics, economics, geography, civil rights and history. How the standards are taught, including the curriculum or methods and materials used, is decided at the local school district level.

In 2020, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) convened a group of Mississippi educators to revise the 2018 MCCRS for Social Studies. Once the revisions were complete, the MDE sought public feedback about the 2021 draft MCCRS for Social Studies.

Some 349 members of the public submitted written comments from Dec. 17, 2021, through Feb. 4, 2022, and 43 people provided feedback during a public hearing in Jan. 28, 2022. 

Since then, the MDE convened a group of 62 social studies educators from all four of Mississippi’s congressional districts, seven postsecondary faculty and 10 MDE content experts as an educator review committee to review all public input and determine whether further revisions were needed.

The social studies teachers consulted with an additional 181 educators within their school districts as part of their review and revision work.

From June through August 2022, the educator review committee worked to review, evaluate and respond to all public comments. The committee examined whether the suggested changes aligned to critical content students should know and be able to do, whether the standard needed clarity or rewording to promote understanding and whether each standard was in the appropriate sequence.

Based on public input and the educator review committee’s work, the 2022 MCCRS for Social Studies includes 158 revisions to the 2021 draft version. The primary revisions include the restoration of content examples that were initially identified to be moved to an instructional planning guide, the reordering of some standards, and rewording and clarifications to promote understanding. 

The second proposal voted on by the SBE was to adopt its proposed weapons policy update, which removed language that conflicted with Mississippi’s 2011 enhanced conceal carry laws.

The State Board’s policy update does not give school personnel the ability to carry guns in schools. Local school districts establish their own policies regarding weapons on campus. In reviewing their current policies, local school districts should consult with their board attorney to ensure compliance with federal and state law. 

To ensure effective school safety standards statewide, the Mississippi Department of Education and the Department of Public Safety recently formed the Mississippi School Safety Alliance, which includes leaders from the SBE, law and public safety, education, mental health, parent groups, and teacher organizations.

The alliance is working to evaluate and/or revise current state laws, SBE policies, protocols, and best practices to ensure local school districts are providing a safe, supportive, and nurturing learning environment for all students, staff and administrators.